a piece of grandma’s kitchen

Climbing up on a chair, I’d grab the handles I couldn’t reach from the ground. I would open the cabinet to pull out cereal for breakfast or a cup for some milk. I’d tug hard on a drawer handle to search for a fork or admire all of Grandma’s tablecloths. Eventually, I didn’t need to pull up a chair to reach the tall ones and I didn’t have to tug so hard on the drawers. I would wrap my fingers around a handle as I would go rummaging in Grandma’s kitchen for…

yeast for making Thanksgiving rolls

a green ceramic bowl for a helping of Grandma’s cobbler

a big spoon for scooping out dad’s Tutti Frutti homemade ice cream

ziploc bags for taking home leftovers

The kitchen stood basically untouched for decades. Those handles I snatched as an adult were the same ones my parents tugged on before I was born.

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And they were there after I was born…a backdrop to so many of my ‘firsts’…like my first time eating ribs.

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And in the background of all our Thanksgiving pictures…the handles in Grandma’s kitchen.

2010Thanksgiving

After my grandpa passed away and as a family we began preparing my grandparent’s home to sell, I sought permission to remove all the handles from the kitchen cabinets and drawers. The house was purchased by a company that would restore and update it. The the cabinets would be removed and discarded. The handles – they came home with me.

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Over the last several years my kids, too short to reach our tall cabinets, used our drawer handles as a ladder. Slowly, they broke every handle (despite my constant reminders not to climb on the drawers). As we began updating our kitchen, I knew exactly what handles I wanted on my cabinets. The same handles I grasped as a little girl. The ones my grandma used everyday as she prepared meals for my grandpa. The ones that hung on the perimeter of a room filled with off-color jokes, family traditions and the very best home cooked meals.

My kitchen looks vastly different than my grandma’s, but the handles are the same. Now my kids will be the ones growing up and tugging on those handles as they rummage through cabinets and drawers…and I’ll smile each time I grasp one and am reminded of grandma’s kitchen.

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Happy Thanksgiving. My prayer is that you find moments of calm to notice little things – like Grandma’s handles – that spur up gratitude within you.

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And simply because I would like to have posts related to my grandparents’ house all together…here are a few from the past.

Sister Cousins photoshoot

To Grandpa’s House We Go

Saturdays Nights at My Grandparents

A Normal Ole’ Saturday Night

How’d You Get to be so Pretty?

When Sadness is a Gift: A Letter to the New Owners

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  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - Ashley, that is precious – and the beauty of it is that only a grandchild would think of this. I have pieces of my grandmothers as well, and I treasure them so.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Southern Gal - Weepy. What foresight to ask for the handles. I have little bits and pieces of my grandmother around me in the things she made like quilts and afghans. Some of the items still smell like her. I know you will enjoy those handles and telling of the memories that go with them for years to come.

  • Jenn - ahhhh! all of this. i just love it. beautiful word pictures. love the handles. thank you for helping us look for and see the little and special moments

  • Carrie - What a sweet, thoughtful, and functional tribute. πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Helen - Love the sentiment in a physical form.

  • Byron - Happy Thanksgiving! ” In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

  • Sarah - What a beautiful Thanksgiving story and tribute to your grandparents. The handles have such style, but the back story is what makes them amazing. Loved this post.

  • Cathy - Ashley, This is so beautiful. My family is preparing for our first holidays without my sweet great aunt who was like a grandmother to me and my siblings and cousins, and my husbands family is preparing for the first without grandma. This is a great reminder to remember these little things during this time that will be so sweet but so hard too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  • Bek Ryder - aw that is just so sweet! So glad you thought to remove those long loved and used handles so that they can continue to be loved! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! <3

  • mary - It sounds cliche to say, “I love this,” but I do. I love it. And I get it. My husband & I moved from Oklahoma 17 years ago, away from all of our family, but we’ve started bringing back physical reminders of grandparents as they have passed. We’ve recently renovated an older house, making it into a farmhouse, and my husband is building shelves and hutches out of old weathered wood that we’ve gathered up from a neighborhood down the road that is replacing miles of sturdy fencing. On those shelves, I’ve placed his grandmother’s old, blue mason jars, filled with little handles that he remembers the same way. One is filled with a collection of old typesetting letters. One is filled with old matches. I just love the way that the afternoon light hits the jars and they light up, like a beaming smile of our past and our history and a promise of what will be in our children and grandchildren. So yeah. I love this.

  • Kelleyn - Love, I wish i had the door knobs from my grandmothers home. They were glass and it reminds me of her! My dad sold her house 10 years ago to move to warmer weather. I miss the smell of the attic and the even the musty old basement. Most of all I miss my grandmother as she was such a lovely person.

  • Jenny - I love that you thought to save the handles. So personal and sweet! Have a great Thanksgiving!

  • Krystle - I love everything about this. In our family, not many people own houses, and not many things have been saved or handed down. In our 2nd owned house, and I am hopeful that our children will have such wonderful memories to look back on as they visit our forever home with their children someday! πŸ™‚

  • Emily - Oh my. There goes my makeup. Thank you for sharing. As my husband and I prepare to drive to my grandfather’s house that he and his new wife moved into last year, I am feeling nostalgic for my grandmother and the house my father grew up and where I spent countless days. I wish that when my grandfather got married and sold that house that I loved so well that I had thought to boost some hardware. Instead, I stayed in the house by myself for a night and sobbed in every room. I’m so glad you have these tangible pieces of your past to keep the memory of your dear grandparents close to your heart and your children.

  • Sandy - Oh the feels! So sweet. What a wonderful way to remember the time spent there :’)

  • Marsha - Precious memories, and handles, are priceless. Thanks for sharing these memories. Memories that took me back to my own grandmas’ kitchens!

  • Kate S. - Such a beautiful idea . . . but what will happen if the kids climb on these handles? It would be a terrible shame for them to be broken, too.

  • AshleyAnn - Kate – the kids got taller and I got smarter…the stuff the girls need are in a low drawer!

  • Laura Y - Ashley – I just wanted to say thank you so much for all your beautiful posts that remind me to reflect on my wonderful family and all my precious memories. I love reading your blog. I find it so inspirational. Its funny because I feel like I know you even though you have no idea who I am. I grew up in Bartlesville and now live with my family (husband and two littles) in OKC. I feel like I can relate to so much of what you share. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You are an amazing woman who challenges me to be more mindful every day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. We are traveling to Tulsa in a few hours to spend it with my parents and 93 year old grandfather. This post just reminded me of how lucky we are to get to spend this holiday with him again this year. Thank you for that reminder.

  • Jennifer - I can’t say how much I love this post. I love the memories and closeness of your family, I love how you look at the mundane and make it absolutely beautiful. Thank you for helping me appreciate the little things in my own life!

  • Diana - I absolutely love this!! Good job thinking of it! How special!

  • Donna Anderson - Lovely sentiment! Thank you for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Janine - Oh you made me cry with that post. Like ugly cry. It’s so beautiful that you have those handles with the reminder of her kitchen and the knowledge of how many hands have touched them over the years. I can still see my grandmother’s kitchen perfectly in my mind’s eye. It’s been almost 20 years since our last Thanksgiving together. It’s never been the same without her.

    P.S They look great on your cabinets. Probably better than anything you could get today.

  • Angela - I love this! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Teresa Young - That is so wonderful and beautiful. I totally got chills reading this. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Rae - OMG this is SO beautiful!! <3

  • Sally - What a beautiful story and don’t they look fantastic in your kitchen!

  • Silvia - A beautiful post. I love your blog and check in often but never usually leave a comment, but today I had to – i got a little teary reading this, thinking of my grandparent’s kitchen that i loved so much and how i wish i had kept some handles to hold on to the past with too. Thank you for sharing your lives with us here. x

  • Claire - What a beautiful way to remember a time from your childhood, something used daily by your grandparents and now used daily with your own family. The handles may be old yet they look timeless and I’m sure they will last many more years.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I just love this. What a beautiful idea!

  • Haley - I LOVE this! Such a simple reminder of years of memories.

  • Hili - Hi Ashley ,on one of the top photos it looks like you’ve scanned and printed your old family photos . Something I’ve been wanting to do for ages but feels overwhelming .Would you share your thoughts on your process ?

  • AshleyAnn - Hili – I just took a picture of an old picture with my DSLR πŸ™‚

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