Bluffton Packet

Old memories and new recall the joys of grandparenting

The late Dan and May Heyward of Bluffton, grandparents of Anne Heyward, in a photograph from the late 1930s.
The late Dan and May Heyward of Bluffton, grandparents of Anne Heyward, in a photograph from the late 1930s.

On Grandparent’s Day and other days of the year, those who still have living grandparents to love and share times with are lucky. Others have memories to rely on while creating new memories of their own with present-day grandchildren by sharing time with them.

Laurie Hubbard Crosby of Hardeeville, summed it all up in-a-nutshell by telling me she was fortunate to have three close grandparents growing up and that all of her wonderful childhood memories are special because they were a part of it. Now that she is a ‘brand-new’ grandparent, it brings back all the special times of raising her own child and now she loves to see that child grown and enjoying the blessings of being a parent himself.

Carlotta Greenwaldt, a niece from Columbia, shared some loving thoughts on the only grandparent she ever knew - ‘Mammy’ Josie Tanner. She describes her as a “saint” on earth, a true Christian, saying she never had to say “I love you” because her actions emulated her feelings and you felt it. She was a very patient and loving person, always kind to everyone, and to top it all off, a very good cook. Carlotta recalls when Mammy helped her mother make some clothes for her doll and how they looked like they were bought from a department store. A favorite memory is the many times she sat and helped her shell butter beans in her apron. She says remembering Mammy always wearing her bib-apron will forever be a picture etched in her mind.

I can also vouch for all of Mammy’s grandchildren as to how much they cared for her, too. Every time family reunions were held at our home, at the end of the day, we adults would settle in to a “catch-up-on-everyone” session. The young’uns would migrate over to Mammy’s small camper-style home to listen to her stories of growing up while snacking on special goodies she always had on hand just for them.

Sister Carolyn Simmons Hudson of Jacksonville and I were fortunate to having three of our grandparents be a part of our growing up years and even into our married lives, leaving us with plenty of loving memories of them.

Carolyn, being a grandparent and a great-grandparent now, shared with me a couple of funny incidents involving them.

One day great-grandson Kaleb Gainey, at the age of 4, showed he had a mind of his own. While visiting them and watching cartoons on TV, Kaleb - Carolyn and Granddaddy Al were talking in the background - Kaleb turned around and said, “Shut up granddaddy.” She said they continued talking and he said again, a little louder, “Shut up granddaddy.” The third time he tried to shush’ them, he got up, came to where they were sitting, placed his hand on his granddaddy’s arm and loudly said, “Shut up talking granddaddy, I can’t hear.”

She said, “We looked at each other stunned by his actions and then burst out laughing.”

Other funny times were when one or the other grands would fall, getting a bruise on their elbow and come to her for solace and she would tell them to kiss’ it to make it all better and then watching them going around and around in circles trying to reach their elbow to kiss it.

Blufftonian Anne Heyward says, “My grandparents, Dan and May Heyward were a very important part of my childhood and teen years. I was the oldest of their 16 grands and the only one that inherited my grandmother’s red hair. I spent a lot of time as a child and a teenager sitting on their front porch visiting with them. They made me feel special and, enjoying the attention, I always looked forward to invitations’ to spend the night. They were my refuge when life got a little hectic at home. The former home they built in 1914 and lived in the rest of their lives is now a shop called “Spartina.” I occasionally go in the shop and I have to admit to some emotional moments.”

Teri Heape Cleland of Pritchardville, on recalling her grandma, Mary Heape, says she and her three siblings always looked forward to spending nights with her so they could hear the trains. She lived in Ridgeland, across from Saul’s Funeral Home and was close to the rail road tracks. During the summer she would cut a ripe watermelon into four pieces and they would sit in her front yard on the grass and watch the trains go by.

In the mornings she’d give each of them .25 cents so they could walk to the small knick-knack’ store in downtown Ridgeland called the “Shopping Bag” where they could buy candy. Watermelon plus candy equals a sweet’ visit at Grandma’ Mary’s house.

Harry and I, becoming first-time great-grandparents in June to great-grandson Logan Hampton Tanner, wish all of you a sweet and happy Grandparent’s Day on Sept. 11.

Contributor Jean Tanner is a lifetime rural resident of the Bluffton area and can be reached at