Grandmother Said:
A Memoir

by Ernestine Sisk Donnell

Xlibris, 2003. ISBN 1401098959.
Reviewed by Lee Ambrose
Posted on 10/29/2004

Nonfiction: Memoir; Nonfiction: Relationships; Nonfiction: Elders

Do you recall curling up at the foot of your grandma's chair while she told "when-I-was-a-child" stories? Or do you find yourself wishing you had asked more questions of grandparents and parents who have departed and taken their stories with them?

Grandmother Said is Ernestine Sisk Donnell's heartfelt attempt to leave her stories behind for future generations. To sit quietly and read them is the next best thing to being curled up at grandma's feet listening to her tell her tales.

Spending the afternoon with Grandmother Said will make the mother or grandmother in you want to take pen in hand and start jotting down your own stories for your own children and grandchildren.

In this short book (only 153 pages), readers catch a glimpse of "stories about small towns in Twentieth Century America when family life was simple, naive and humble...from the lips of a Grandmother."

Lovingly placed within the pages of these stories, Donnell has shared black and white photos. These glimpses of her family provide the warm smiles and gentle faces that she so delicately describes.

The author is a retired Texas journalist. She worked as a reporter for the United Press in Chicago, as well as several daily papers. For six years, she served as the Public Information Officer of the Texas Department on Aging. Mother of five children, grandmother to eight grandchildren, she weaves her stories for her own offspring as well as others who appreciate a simpler time in American life.

In her foreword, Donnell offers these poignant words:

"Most of us are well into our adult years before we become curious about our ancestors. In our youth, we are too busy charting our own future to care much about the past.

Although I possessed some biographical facts about my forebears, it was after the death of my grandparents and parents that I wished I had taken advantage of numerous opportunities to quiz them individually about their lives. I wanted to know much more. I wondered how they would describe their happiest hours and their roughest days. I yearned to see them through their own eyes. I wanted to hear their voices tell it like it was.

My sense of loss and the apparent growing disconnect between American generations enticed me to write the following essays. Someday, my grandchildren or great-grandchildren will wonder about me, my family, my fears and my moments of elation. I hope these stories will give them glimpses of the way it was for me and those I loved."

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