November 19th, 2015 by Jan

My Grandmother Chambers was born on this day 125 years ago.

I was lucky to have met her, but most of what I knew of her were from stories told to me by my mother or father. I sure would love to go back in history, knowing what I know today and ask her some questions.


I’d love to hear a story or two from her directly.

When I think of Grandmother Chambers, I see her in my minds eye, sitting on her chesterfield, in a silk housecoat, with matching slippers, smoking a cigarette in a very cigarette long holder. In my memory she was very elegant, formal, and classy.

As a child I was just this side of afraid of her. Like I said, she was formal, and I was terrified of saying or doing something wrong around her.

It was also emphasized for me to be on my best behaviour when we were with her. On one visit, I asked her how long she was going to stay, — I was told that that was a very rude question.

I have several great stories about her, but my favourite is the one about the clock.

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Children were to be seen and not heard in Grandmothers house. I now know this was more my mothers rule, than her mothers rule, but it was a definite rule. Anyway, I must have been 5 or 6 years old, I really have no idea, but I was young and at Grandmothers table for dinner in New York. As I recall it was a very formal event. I know we were dressed up, and I remember someone was serving the meal to us.

During the dinner I heard Grandmothers clock chime. This was a beautiful clock that went off on the hour and the half hour and I loved it.

I asked flat out — “Grandmother, when you die, may I have that clock?”

I don’t remember much after I asked, because the world stopped spinning.

Holy moly, I doubt I could have said anything worse. I do know I had to leave the table and my mother was horrified. It was a big deal.

My grandmother died on Christmas Day in 1971. My mom was with her, and I know mom stayed in New York for quite sometime after to help settle her estate.

When mom finally came home, she gave me the clock.

Apparently, in Grandmothers will, it said, “Jan gets the clock.”

I was told I was the only grandchild mentioned in her will. I don’t know if that is true or not, but I did learn a life lesson from my Grandmother.

Ask for what you want. You just might get it!

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