Archive for 9th June 2009

Grandma kept kids entertained

Grandma kept kids entertained

Mary’‡Wiedeman • Down’‡Memory Lane • May 19, 2009

Grandmas are forever moms, but still very different. When you remember your childhood, grandparents can take center stage because of their individuality.

Our great-grandma had us kids spending most of our hot summer days anxiously waiting for her “Woozy Bees” to emerge from the ground.

I still feel compelled to ask if there ever was such a bug, here or in her native Virginia. However, Grandma Cline told her story so perfectly that no one dared to doubt it. Now, it is hard to imagine all the hours that we sat listening to her talking about Woozy Bees. In retrospect, times were so different during that era no cell phones, text messaging, video games, etc., to keep little minds occupied. So, when Grandma would tell us we needed to put our ears close to the ground in order to hear the Woozy Bees stirring, when she called them, that simply seemed a fun thing to do. She would become very serious and call, “Here little Woozy Bees, here little Woozy Bees.”

Then we would wait and wait and wait, hoping the little varmints would soon appear. She kept us glued on our knees by telling us things such as they would come up and out of the earth backward, and that they would be making humming sounds. We envisioned them to look like little potato bugs with wings and that is exactly how their images stayed in our minds ‘ since we never did see or hear any.

Grandma Cline weighed less than 100 pounds “wringing wet,” as they say. She sewed her own gathered skirts, which fell well past her knees. Her shimmy tops were handmade also, usually of printed cotton, long sleeves and buttoned down the front from chin to waist. A petticoat, an apron and black high-top, laced boots completed her everyday wear.

At age 16, she started to smoke a pipe, which she packed with crumbled-up leaves of Granger Twist tobacco. It came in a round oatmeal-shaped box container. Smoking a pipe became a day-in and day-out habit for her, started because she was told it would cure her toothache.

She died at age 109, then supposedly one of the oldest living people. What a grand celebration was held in her honor on her 104th birthday. Congratulatory telegrams came in from all over, even one from then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

If you are blessed with having grandparents in your life, talk to them and enjoy them even if they ask you to spend most of your summer on your ear, kneeling in the dirt calling to Woozy Bees that never show.

It is good though, just to be able to remember the anticipation of maybe getting to see one and still being able to hear her voice calling “Here little Woozy Bee, here little Woozy Bee.”


  • Mary Wiedeman of Tulare is the teacher of the Down Memory Lane writers group, which meets at 10 a.m. Thursdays at the Tulare Senior Community Center, 201 North F St. Stories from the group appear Tuesdays in the Advance-Register. 
  • You know what I love about this story? She smoked a pipe every day since she was 16 and lived to be 109.

    Tobacco store owner gearing up for another legal fight

    Tobacco store owner gearing up for another legal fight

    Last Updated: Monday, May 18, 2009 | 2:42 PM AT

    A tobacco seller in Kentville, N.S., is gearing up for another legal fight with the provincial government over its law on displaying tobacco products.

    Bob Gee, who has owned Mader’s Tobacco Store for more than 30 years, has refused to comply with a law that requires him to cover up or hide his cigars, cigarettes and pipe tobacco from public view.

    In May 2008, Gee was charged under the province’s anti-smoking law with one count of storing tobacco products and another of improper display.

    Gee, who said the law violates his charter rights guaranteeing on freedom of expression, was set to go to trial on April 1. However, the Crown attorney for the province requested a stay of the charges against him.

    Since then, the provincial government has amended the law, which still requires store owners to keep tobacco products hidden from public, but now allows for them to display their products in a catalogue.

    Gee said he wasn’t impressed with both the stay of charges and the rewording of the law.

    “I went to court to face the charges and then they’re using the system and whatnot to hide behind.”

    Now a ‘waiting game,’ store owner says

    Gee has already received two warnings from a government inspector to once again, cover up his tobacco products.

    “We had a good warm discussion on the first visit that we got the 30-day verbal warning,” Gee told CBC News on Monday. “I guess the talk is over and it’s just the waiting game.”

    A second written warning Gee received expires in early June.

    Gee said the amended law still violates his right to freedom of expression, so he intends to keep his tobacco in full view behind the counter. He said he hopes the provincial government moves quickly if it intends to charge him.

    “We went to court to get closure and I would hope that happens sooner rather than later,” Gee said. “I’m not going away and I’m not giving up.”

    The fine for violating the anti-smoking law is $2,000 for the first offence. A second conviction carries a maximum fine of $5,000, and the fine goes to $10,000 for a third conviction.

    Hammer Time