My Grandma’s Bowl


Post by community member:

I spent a lot of time with my mom’s mom. She watched my sister and I when we were really little when my mom worked. Then we saw her every Saturday when my mom would take her grocery shopping, and on Sundays when we would pick her up for church. She always looked pretty and smelled good, and we made it a ritual to tell her that each time she got in the car. It was said in the most dramatic fashion possible, with a little sniffing sound for effect: “Grandma, you look pretty and (SNIFF SNIFF) smell good!”

In the summer, Grandma grew rhubarb, pickles, and strawberries. I’m sure she probably grew other things, too, ’cause she was from a farm. But what those things were? I don’t remember! I think I remember the rhubarb, pickles, and strawberries because those were my favorite things that she grew. Don’t you think?

Before lunch each day, she would let us pick berries to have with our lunch. Of course, we ate just about as many before we got into the house as by the time we got them in. They were so red, ripe, sweet, and juicy, and tasted sooooo good.

She had a pretty little bowl that she mainly used for fruit or fruit salad. I liked it because it was emerald green, my favorite color. It’s also a nice size–not too small, not too big. The berries piled in that bowl were so pretty and tempting. Yum.


Late in her life, she moved from her house with the wonderful gardens into senior apartments. Of course, she had to pare things way down in order to fit them into her new, smaller place.

I got custody of the beautiful green bowl. I GOT CUSTODY OF THE BEAUTIFUL GREEN BOWL!!!

I didn’t use it. I put it on a shelf to look at because I didn’t want it to break from use.

Well, one of my dogs knocked into the shelf somehow one day while I was gone. I came home to find the beautiful green bowl shattered on the floor. I was so sad.

The bowl was more than just a bowl to me.

  • It was a symbol of the times my grandma fed us lunch and cared for us.
  • It was a reminder of the time spent picking berries together.
  • It was something she held in her hands so many times, then she passed it on to me.

Once, at a garage sale, I found glasses that matched the bowl. Though they weren’t the bowl, they were a visual reminder, so I bought them. They remain in my cupboard to this day.

Last year, I found the same bowl online. It was less than $10, and I wanted it because it was like THE bowl.

I was torn about buying it. Sure, it was just $10, but I wasn’t sure I deserved the bowl. What if I broke that one, too? I consulted with my sister Kristi, with whom I consult about all the important things on my brain. She convinced me to get the bowl, but to USE it, not just set it on a shelf. She made me promise.

She was right, of course, so I bought the bowl. I have used it several times since. When it is not being used or going to someone’s potluck, it sits on the display shelf in my living room, behind glass so it doesn’t have a mishap when I’m not around.

I learned a few important lessons from the loss and re-finding of the bowl.

  • Use the special things that have meaning to you, and don’t save them for “good.” They are never going to mean as much to someone else anyway, I’ll bet.
  • Those special things aren’t really that special: the memories they invoke are.
  • A sister with whom you can consult of things is a very good thing to have. I love and appreciate mine.
  • Grandmas stay in your heart long after they have left you to be with God.

I hope that you all have or had really good grandmas and really good sisters and some awesome memories.

And a nice bowl for berries isn’t a bad thing to have either.

Kathi N blogs at How We’re Gonna Do It.

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  1. GrannyTrace says:

    I cherish my memories with my Grandmother too.
    Lovely bowl and memory Kathi. Thanks for sharing.
    Granny Trace

  2. Glenda says:

    Kathi, I loved this post! Your sister is so right; use what you love and enjoy it every single time.

    I have aprons the grands have made for me I(school projects) that are so faded I can’t see their pictures on them, but I think of those sweet girls every time I tie it around me. Same with the coffee mugs with their pictures.

    BTW, I have one of those Sis’s. Thank God for cell phones. We talk almost daily. She is my go to person for every thing.

  3. Robin from Rurification says:

    I loved this! I know just what you mean. I have my grandma’s silver butter knife and my other grandma’s china saucer. I think of my grandmas and smile every time we pull them out.

  4. marymac says:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. i never knew my grandma, but I have a bowl my mom served soup in on Sundays, and I’m afraid to use it, but lately I’ve been thinking about it and after reading your post I am going to do just that. Lovely post. thanks.

  5. Miss Judy says:

    Kathi, thank you so much, I can relate. I am sitting here with tears in my eyes thinking of all the things I have to remind me of my grandmother and other family members.And you are so right…it’s not the things…it’s the memories.Wonderful post.

  6. Bev in CA says:

    Kathi, all four things you listed really means a lot. I have so many things that bring loved ones to mind. Memories are best and also to share. Thank you for a great post.

  7. Kathi N says:

    Thank you all for the nice comments. You are wonderful.

  8. David says:

    I have a set of salad bowls (a serving bowl and four individual bowls) that were my great grandmother’s.
    I’m sure they were cheap when made but they do represent so many memories from my childhood.

    Value in the sense of what others would value them means nothing to me. In my mind they are truly priceless.

    I’m sure you feel the same way.

  9. Liz Pike says:

    Loved this post, Kathi! I too had a dear bowl that belonged to my grandmother that got broken. I don’t even remember how, but I did save the pieces and created a mosaic tile tabletop out of the pieces. I enjoy the table top as much as I ever did the bowl.

  10. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    You know, you are absolutely right! I have a quilt my mother made for me just before she passed away. It’s stored away and never seen. I think I will bring it out and put it on the bed in the spare room!

  11. Judy says:

    Nice post Kathi N! I have a platter that belonged to my Grandma. I use it every time I have a large roast, turkey at Thanksgiving, ham for Christmas.. It just like Grandma is having dinner with me.Miss her so much!

  12. JerseyMom says:

    Thanks Kathi! Today is my mom’s birthday and she’s celebrating in heaven with Jesus whole and healthy….and I’m using her stuff and my grandma’s stuff too. At first I too was afraid something would happen and it did…but that didn’t take away the memories. Once I could see that I relaxed about the “stuff” a little more and enjoyed my store of good times that nobody can erase from my heart.

  13. Kathi N says:

    You guys totally get it. Thanks for sharing your stories, and for the kind words.

  14. Maggie says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart felt story. I too had a wonderful grandmother and understand the tugging at the heart strings when I see them. I have her “biscuit cutter” LOL…it is an old small metal orange juice can cut in half! But oh the biscuits she would make.


  15. Joy says:

    Some great examples of the idea that things are only valuable for the person that they have value for. I’m sure to Maggie a flood sweeping away her grandmother’s “biscuit cutter” would be horrible though no insurance agent would give her a nickel for it. One thing we need to do, however, is take that “stuff” we got from our loved ones out of the cupboard and use it and build new memories for our kids and grandkids about us using them and telling them about your grandmother.

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