Nancy Grammer Letter – School Yards and Toilet Paper

Lisa Shea was working on a research project in 2002. Lisa wrote her great-aunt Nancy Warren Grammer for information about Nancy’s childhood. Nancy was the older sister of Lisa’s grandmother Jane Warren Waller. The three siblings were born in rural Tennessee and their childhood was during the Great Depression.

Nancy – June 8, 1918
Joe – January 3, 1921
Jane – December 4, 1924

This letter was written by Nancy dated February 3, 2002.

Dear Lisa,

Hope you can read this STUFF. Have enjoyed going down Memory Lane with you. When Kate does her scanning I will try to add a few other bits of later periods.

Love, GREAT Aunt Nancy 🙂

Notes for Lisa Down Memory Lane

Had writing material out to start your letter when the Post Girl delivered your nice package with tape and letter.

The tape and taping was such a good idea, but I am more fluent with pen and paper. Hope you can read this.

Kate will scan (learned another computer word) the baby book and a few more pictures that could not find their way into the book.

My grand-parents Julie Drennan Warren and Daniel Webster Warren were part of my early memories. Mother, Dad and I lived with them when Dad returned from France in WWI. Granny was much fun. She loved entertaining the grand-kids. Daniel had just as soon to be by himself, I figure. Granny would gather us all on the front porch, in the dark and tell us scary stories, which we liked. Of course, the psychologists of today would not support that scary stuff just before bed-time, I guess.

I remember an incident when I felt the richest in my life. Granny and I picked 6 gallons of black-berries and walked about a mile to exchange them for candy-coated popcorn with prizes in the bottom of the box. I loved those prizes. I’m certain that Granny did all of the picking, since I was just a tyke.

Another time Granny and I walked down in the field to see the ram. I was all excitement wondering what is a ram. I was so disappointed to see a pump which delivered water to the house. Not IN the house (Granny didn’t trust those pipes).

Another impressive time at Granny’s was the day the delivery truck came with all kinds of staples upon which the ladies depended for all kinds of supplies, until next week.

Granny also liked to play the organ and sing for us kids. Jane, your Grand asked me if Granny played and sang prettily and reluctantly I had to say, “I don’t think so.”

Granny and Pap lived at Yukon, a very remote village (community) out from Fayetteville, Tn.

My grand-dad, Robert Pleasant Smith is pictured in the baby book holding me. I notice that he gave me many presents listed in the baby book. His wife, my grandmother died before I had the opportunity to know her. ‘They’ say she was a saint.

Robert Pleas had the reputation of being a planner rather than a laborer. The help said, on their days off, “Well I think I’ll help Mr. Pleas today.” It was said that he would sit on the fence post and plan.

R.P. was his only son who looked just like his dad. R.P. was a great buddy of brother Joe and he seemed like a brother to me.

Hope that Kate can get to the scanning job sometime soon. It may tell you more than you want to know. I think Joe had a baby book and so did Jane.

Feb 3 –
It was at this point I decided the regular envelope had been surpassed. So for a few more steps down Memory Lane.

Notes Continued

I remember Granny (Julie) telling about sitting in a Yankee soldier’s lap demanding a pretty small knife to be her own. The soldier explained that he had a little girl her age who would like the knife too. This was a Civil War soldier.

I’ve heard tales about Uncle Buck Jones. He seemed to be a character. But when there was a dispute to be settled in the community they called on Uncle Buck to act as judge. (That was before everybody learned to SUE). Uncle Buck must have been Granny’s brother. Jane would have known.

I’ve heard that my grand-mother, Nancy Jane would cook for people who passed by at lunch-time. She would throw away dishpans of food. She probably grew the food in her garden. You notice that Jane and I were named for this grandmother.

Warren Lee (son) calls me Nanstein – since I came up in the Great Depression I watch the pennies. But this tale makes my tight ways from an early date. As Mother finds herself in a dilemma in the backyard John without toilet tissue (the Sears Catalog). In desperation, she sends 3 year old Nancy to bring her some paper from the catalog. Well generous Nancy pinches off about 1/4″ square and presents it. After the 3rd try Mamaw gave up and never forgot to have a Sears catalog in the John.

Country folks were sometimes referred to as Country Tacks. Now people can’t build fancy enough house on their country estates. Well Great Uncle Lynnwood switched the picture when he was 6 years old and in the 1st grade. Something on the playground ticked him off and he was telling the principal, Ms. Fanny who was a country girl herself ALL about what those TOWN TACKS.

She liked his spiel so much she called him out of his 1st grade room to tell her 8th grade class all about the TOWN TACKS. Those 8th graders really enjoyed that explosion. I can vision him on that teacher’s built-up platform looking like the rooster on the corn-flakes box giving them what for.

Mother was quite opinionated (as am I, I suppose) but Great Uncle L loves to quote her as saying: “I’m not arguing, I’m teaching.”

Dad (Blakely) was humorous, at times. On one of our visits, he told George (your grand) & Great Uncle L, “You boys are lucky, you’ve just got 1/2, I’ve got the REAL thing.

Another time when Dad surprised me with humor. He had had his brakes tightened. When the mechanic gave him the bill ($19) Dad commented: “Too Tight!”

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