Today would have been my maternal grandmother’s 101st birthday.
She died three years ago after a very long life. This Saturday her ashes will be interred in a grave next to my grandfather whom she lost when she was only 47 years old. My grandmother never remarried. She once told me: “I raised one husband. That was enough.”
As I reflect on my grandmother’s life, I am awed by all the major world events she lived through and witnessed.
Her father was an immigrant and her mother grew up on a farm. She survived childhood illnesses before there were vaccines or antibiotics. She lived through the Great Depression and World War II. She raised a family in a home with no A/C, that came later, and only one car. (My grandmother drove my grandfather to work each day, so she could run errands.)
When my mother was in college, my grandfather died unexpectedly from a lung embolism. For the first time in over twenty years, my grandmother went back to work. She still had one child at home and two in college and needed the income. My grandmother worked as a kindergarten aide for 25 years in addition to maintaining a home and a yard. She lived independently into her 90’s, and even though she got a little dotty those last few years, she still retained her acerbic wit until the end.
I miss my grandmother.
I miss going to her house during school breaks and road trips in her big, blue 1968 Impala. (I know where I got my lead foot from.) I miss the treasure trove in her basement, picking blackberries with her in the summer, and hearing her made-up stories about the neighbors.
My grandmother helped me dress my first Thanksgiving turkey as a married woman, cut out my first quilt squares, and taught me to love the color purple. She showed me through actions, more than words, how to be a self-sufficient woman as well as the importance of family.
As family gathers on Saturday to celebrate my grandmother’s remarkable life and to eat her favorite food, I invite you to remember the remarkable women in your life.
What did you learn from them?
What are your fondest memories of them?
What food reminds you of them?
In a few weeks, we will ask you to submit your memories, your photos, your recipes that illustrate your love for the remarkable women in your life.
It has been a dream of mine to create a Shakti in the Mountains cookbook which encapsulates the vibrance and resilience of women. I am fortunate that the newest Shakti intern, Christen Minnick, has agreed to take on this project and to curate a collection of stories to inspire us all.
To kick off this new adventure, I share my grandmother’s famous Chocolate In-the-Pan Cake.
Grandma loved this recipe, not only because it tasted good, but because it only dirtied one dish and used only one egg. (She was very frugal.) I recommend playing Louis Prima’s song “Oh Marie” while you make the cake. My grandfather sang this song to her in recognition of her name. In remembrance of Marie Leff Palisano…
Chocolate In-the-Pan Cake
1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 T cocoa
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
Mix the dry ingredients in an 8×8 baking dish. After thoroughly mixing, make two wells. In one well put:
1 t vanilla
2 t vinegar
In the second well, put 5 T oil
Pour 3/4 cup of hot water over the batter and mix well. Add 1 beaten egg and mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until done.
*If you are like our family, then you will double the recipe and use a 9×13 baking dish. After the cake cools, we frost it with buttercream frosting. Yum!
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Since 2010, Kim continues to build and to support a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.
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