I have recently been reading Grandma’s diaries from the years 1954-55 which was during the time when my mother Irene was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown and my twin brother Bruce and I stayed with grandma from time to time (we were only 3 years old). What I found was that Grandma’s house was a literal magnet for people! She demonstrated an amazing record of hospitality. People just felt welcomed and loved there! Both family and friends would just stop in unannounced, not just on Sundays, but practically every day of the week!
Here is an example from 1955:
July 3rd Sunday Hot & dry 90 degrees. Betty went to Sunday School with John & Laura. Marion & Snack were here a little this morning. Socky Snyder was here, also Geo Feaser. Minnie & Mickey were here for dinner. Chicken was delicious. Pop went to club this afternoon. Betty and I were home. This eve Totty & Jack & Susie were here we had icecream. John, Laura, Minnie, Mickey, Henry, Hazel, Warren & Irene were here.
That’s 17 adults, not to mention children! This routine was repeated week after week, month after month. There is no other home in the Anspach family that I can think of which had this amount of human traffic. And Grandma loved it! She thrived on family fellowship and was even sad when a day passed with no visitors! Like this day:
Jan 2nd Sunday, Went to see Irene this afternoon. Minnie, Mickey, Tottie, Jack & Me. Pop didn’t feel so well so he didn’t go. Irene is about the same as last Sunday. She loved her red shoes. We stayed until 3:45. Got apples on the way up. Saw Totties tree and gifts. Dull evening, no visitors. Bed at 8:15
Some of her visitors even came AFTER she went to bed!
Mar 25th Real nice out. I cleaned upstairs. Bruce and Brian were outside all day. Pop cleaned out his trunk. Wayne was here he borrowed $25.00. Warren came for Bruce and Brian at 4:30. They were glad to see him. Pop went away at 3. Edna & kids came at 10:30. I was in bed already. Pop came home drunk.
Mar 26th Edna and I talked awhile before anyone else was up. It’s raining again. Edna, Charles, Charlene & Betty went to Annie. Annie gave Edna a Toni. Pop and I went for groceries to Annville. We were at Snack. Marion and I baked shoe fly pies and cinnamon buns. Edna came home at 8:30. Sky Long & Peiffer were here. I burned a bun. HaHa! Smokey Maggie!
And So what did all these people do while in Maggie’s humble abode? In PA Dutch tradition they ate! Grandma wasn’t rich but somehow she always had something to eat.
June 29th Sunny & Hot 90. Made breakfast for Pop & Johnny. Mended all the rips and tears in his shirt. Made a pair of shorts for Betty. Snack was here this dinner. He had lunch with us. Had a pig stomach for supper. I was real real mad cause Pop was drunk again. I really let loose. Felt a lot better too! Good day. Ha Ha!
Sept 24th Still raining this morning. Gus came down and we went for groceries. Jeanie was here this afternoon. We had corn on cob, hot dogs and watermelon for supper. Minnie, Mickey and Laura came for Jeanie. Pop came home drunk. Irene bought me a new dress. Betty & I watched TV. Pop was in an uproar.
Dec 25th Sunday 40deg A lovely day! Nice and sunny and warm. All the snow is melted. I washed the Ford in a hurry it was a mess. Put turkey in at 7. Minnie, Mickey, Snack & Marion were here for dinner. We had a happy time. Turkey was delicious. Bertha & Oscar were here this afternoon. Perfect day! We were at Irene’s for supper had turkey also. Were at Amos and Emma too.
Jan 3rd Cloudy 38 deg, Up at 7:30 fire was very good. Snack came home at 8. He and Betty went to Sunday School. Had steak for dinner. No guests!
Yes, it was the exception to have NO GUESTS at Grandma’s house. The Bible says that when we entertain guests that sometimes perhaps we have entertained angels. I think that is especially true for Grandma’s house and there was likely a guardian angel or two watching over her and her family. Actually, SHE was an angel in disguise!
Life these days is just too hurried and we are SO distracted! Did you ever see a family sitting around a table and everyone is staring into their cell phones?? Grandma would NOT put up with that! We should live by grandma’s example and encourage family and friends to come and visit and fellowship and stay awhile.
Consider these admonitions from the Apostle Paul:
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. (Romans 12:1,2 NLT)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13 NLT)
The above passages from Romans truly describes the life of my grandmother Margaret Anspach! Other than my own mother, I can think of no other hospitable, humble servant of the Lord that impacted my life more than she did. Every time I grab those salt and pepper shakers, in my mind’s eye I can see her in that everpresent apron, smiling and with a twinkle in her eye…. come and dine!