10 Things Our Grandmas Got Right.

Whether yours is still with us, or has passed away, your grandma lives on in you, whether you like it or not.

My sister has my Nanna, Myrtle Murphy’s physical features. I inherited her fondness for beer and a small punt at the track. My son has inherited her love and passion for Rugby League (GO THE EELS) and my other son has inherited her love of gossip and drama.

Myrtle Murphy (real name) was a woman with an opinion and she did not mind sharing it. Only her and her God knew that she was up the duff on her wedding day. And didn’t she love her God, right up until the end on her long life.

She made fantastic roasts and gave me a shiny 50-cent piece each time I visited her.

This was her Mother In Law.


Emily Elizabeth Murphy lived until the age of 101. She too would frequent the track often; have a beer or two like any good Irish Catholic woman would have done.

On the other side was the kind, sweet and gentle Marion Frater. She was a farmer’s wife, a woman of terrific breeding ability and a great cook. She married Donald, who back in the day was a Communist. And just to keep things fair, she was also fond of a punt and frosty ale.

Do you sense a theme here?

I quite often think of them all and take bits and carry around bits and pieces of them everyday. I would have to say that Marion was my favourite (Sorry Myrtle! Forgive me…) because she was everything a grandma needed to me.

She was patient and kind, could whip up a sponge cake like it was nobodies business and always had a jug of cold Tang in the fridge.

Grandma’s lived in a different world to the one we are existing with, and I think that is where they had an advantage, in a way.

10 Things Our Grandmas Got Right.

  1. Full Fat. None of this low fat, no fat, half fat stuff that we can choose from. It was butter and it was milk. Less choice means less stress.
  2. They used Oil Of Ulan on their skin and washed it with soap. Again, less choice, less stress.
  3. They did not have access to the media like we do, therefore were not exposed to a lot of images for them to compare themselves too. They were described as plain, beautiful or handsome. And that was that.
  4. Clothes were made of natural fibers, worn and mended as needed. They were not interested in collecting a wardrobe and dressing for impressing.
  5. They did not seek answers or blame people. They lived in a time of war and where grateful what they had, and if they were not, they just got on with the job.
  6. No escalators, elevators and very average public transport back in the day. And it was the reason that they got away will hooking into things Full Fat.
  7. Were organized. Well you had to be! No iPhones to whip out to text someone that you will be running late. You made plans and stuck with them. You were not contactable all of the time. This brings about a sense of calm, of predictability.
  8. Grandma’s were well read and informed correctly when it came to the media. Straight shooting reporting came from the papers and the radio. The facts were delivered straight, with no bias.
  9. Cooked food! Real food! A diet of meat and three veg most nights, perhaps a porridge to start the day and a sandwich in between. They ate fish and desserts where more often or not based around seasonal fruit. And guess what! Very little food allergies existed and a very low rate of obesity.
  10. No G-strings. I swear these scraps of fabric make people cranky! I mean, who likes walking around with a string up your clacker…..

I think it is safe to say that there are benefits to living in an era where things were done more simply. Coffee came from a jar. Soup came from boiling up a chicken carcass and entertainment meant socializing, talking and more importantly perhaps, listening. And indulging meant having two after dinner mints at a dinner party.

Although we cannot turn back the clock, and I think there are few of us that want to as they faced many battles in their own way, it might be good to look at our lives on occasion and think… What would Grandma Do?

 What was your Grandma like?

  • Kathy Marris

    My nana was a terrific scone maker and served them with freshly whipped cream and homemade jam. I loved visiting Sunday mornings to share a scone and cuppa with her. She was a wonderful woman. 🙂

  • One of mine always tried to give us dessert the second we had finished eating dinner 🙂 Sometimes you need a break first!

  • Heidi D

    My Nan was lovely. I stayed at Nan & Pa’s house any time I wasn’t at school while Mum & Dad worked. Nan used oil of ulan, she would open a couple of new bottles of milk at once to give me the creamiest bit from the top. She cooked a hot meal in the middle of the day. She would let me have as many iceblocks as I wanted, always had jelly in the fridge & made sure my favourite treats were in the cupboard. She was caring & funny & greatly missed. My Oma in Germany was strong & determined. She lived into her late 90’s & rode her bicycle to the shops every morning up until a few years before she died. I only visited a few times over the years but, like Nan, she was always prepared with my favourite foods.She also had an attic full of little clothes & things of mine she had kept. She was another lovely one.

    • I used to spend school holidays on the farm. Your nan sounds a lot like Marion xx

  • I still have both of mine! Nanny loves wine, craft and dancing. Nanna is thrifty, practical and very organised. I’d say I’m a straight up half and half of both. 🙂

    • How lucky are you! Yes you are a good mix of them both xx

  • Nicola Jones

    I loved reading that as my memories flooded back of my Grandma, long since passed. She lived with us while we were young and my mum worked so she was more of a mother to me in lots of ways. I remember she used to let us do and watch things we were not allowed to at any other time. She used to save all her copper coins for us so we could have spending money on holidays. I loved laying in her bed with so many pillows and listening to her stories which were pure Dickensian. Funny that while reading through the comments though there’s ads for ‘she’s 72 but looks 52’ crap. Our grandmas would have laughed at such nonsense and the Ponds Institute.

    • I hate the ads on here! Aghhh. These comments are beautiful. Love reading about everyone’s Nannas xx

  • Maggie

    My paternal Nanna died when I was three so I have no real memory of her but my maternal Granny lived to be 108!!! She still had all her wits about her right up to the end and she wa,s and still remains, the most significant person in my life. I spent most school holidays with her and lived with her for 6 years when I went to university and those were the happiest years of my life (no exaggeration). She was the most generous, wise, caring woman you would ever wish to meet. She wasn’t religious but she was the most Christian person I have met.She would literally give you her last dollar (and she didn’t have many of those but she was rich in so many other ways.) She never judged anybody. She was the queen of recycling (having been brought up on a farm and lived through the depression). She grew most of her own food, could make a tasty, healthy meal out of next to nothing and made all of her (and her grandchildren’s) clothes. I wouldn’t be able to cook or sew on a button if it wasn’t for her. When life throws me a curve ball these days I always think “What would Granny have done”. Her secret was that she wasn’t interested in material things at all. She got more pleasure out of striking a new plant from a cutting than going berserk at a Bunning’s nursery. She didn’t expect a lot out of life and that is why she was so happy. She always led by example. What I miss the most about her is sitting with her on her sunny verandah with a cup of tea (made with real tea leaves) and ginger nut and playing scrabble. Thank you Mrs Woog for opening up this wonderful conversation about our GrandmasXXXXX

    • Oh wow! What a joy it was to read about your Nanna Maggie xx

  • Jen

    I only ever knew one of my Nannas. What a nanna she was💕. She had a lilac bedroom and smelt of cedel hair spray. She could bake a mean roast chook dinner. She also regularly cooked baked custard. She never learnt to drive so walked everywhere, well into her 80s. She shopped every Thursday (pension day) and would always come home with a chocolate whip bar for my sister and I. She always had a packet of steam rollers in her handbag… Oh the memories!

    • Oh just gorgeous! Such a simpler time back then xx

  • Lisa

    My Nanna was amazing. She made everything and I mean everything from scratch ice cream, tomato sauce and the best slices and biscuits. We never had a biscuit out of a packet. Her garden was incredible she grew all her own fruit and vegetables and every Monday morning I took a bunch of flowers from her garden to my primary teacher. She lived a quiet and unassuming life, till the ripe old age of 94. I still miss her, she loved my sister and I (her only grandchildren) beyond measure.

    • Such lovely memories Lisa. Thank you for sharing them xx

  • andrewfaith

    Gran was everything to me. She baked and roasted and preserved and I learnt it all from her. This is what she wrote a few years before she passed away. http://andrewfaith.com/gran/

    • Well she has cartainly passed her talents onto you! X

  • I loved my darling Nanna. She and I rocked along together after my Pop died, we kept each other company watching ‘Prisoner’ and other strange generational jumping stuff on the tellie. She’d wake me every morning with sugary tea and 3 buttered wheatmeal biccies. She was not a great cook, but she sure could whip up an xmas pudding and her pockets were always full of sweeties and her arms full of cuddles. I hope I am a lot like her.

  • Mumabulous

    Mine was an awesome cougar. She had a massive lady boner for William Shatnar and kept a replicia of the star ship Enterprise on the mantel piece. So ahead of the curve.

  • I couldn’t pick a favourite Grandma. They were both lovely. I remember jars of buttons and puftaloons (which she called fatty scones), golden syrup and sets of Reader’s Digest books.

  • kate Lovell

    I have loved all the stories here, I never knew any of my grandparents and my mum died when I was 26. I feel like I’ve missed out on so many wonderful loving moments.
    Oh and I’m new here too.
    Cheers Kate