When I was growing up I spent a lot of time with my mom's mom. We often went to her house after school. She helped me sew clothes for my Barbies and would let us drink Dr. Pepper which wasn't allowed at home. :)
The only time she worked after she was married was when she helped my grandfather with his hardware store after their daughters were grown (which he bought after he retired from farming). She's well into her 80s now and still hanging in there. She has her share of aches and pains, is dealing with some chronic health conditions, and she sometimes forgets things, but she always looks beautiful and never misses her weekly appointment with the hairdresser. I still love to visit my grandmother. She always tells me that she's proud of me and it means so much coming from her.
She taught me many things, but here are some highlights.
1. Make the bed and the whole room will look better. She was right. I always make my bed first thing in the morning.
2. Quality over quantity: not in time, but in clothing. She wasn't opposed to buying things on sale, but she always inspected the buttons and seams to make sure the garment was well made before she bought it. She told me that she would rather have a few well made items than a whole closet full of cheap things that would fall apart after the first wash. I can't say I abide by this every time I buy something, but I probably should. It's good advice.
3. When in doubt about what to wear, dress up. She said that being overdressed for an occasion was better than being too casual if everyone else is dressed up.
4. Always take care of your appearance. She still never leaves the house without her makeup and hair done, and a cute outfit on. She says that taking care of ourselves shows respect for our husbands and families. She still keeps her nails done too (something which I'm not very good at). My grandfather (who passed away in 1985) was also this way. He showered twice a day, once in the morning and once on returning from the farm, and always had a fresh shave and smelled of Lava Soap.
5. Write thank you notes. To this day I still don't want to get in trouble by forgetting to write a thank you note. :) I try to sit down and get my thank you notes written ASAP.
6. Be on time. This has been a huge struggle for me. Especially when the kids were small we were often late everywhere we went. Once we were late to Christmas dinner at my mother's house and my grandmother really let me have it.
7. You only have one chance to make a first impression. I can still hear her saying this when I meet people for the first time.
8. Go to church. We went to the same church that my grandparents did when I was little and we always sat next to them. Even after I was grown, married and living in a different town, my grandmother would call on a Sunday afternoon and ask "Did you go to church this morning?" She was always happy when I would answer "Yes ma'am!"
9. One of the things she taught me was not by anything she said, but by example. She and my grandfather modeled a wonderful marriage relationship for me. They were both always so thoughtful of one another and loved to laugh and have fun together. He referred to her as his "little roommate". It was their relationship that helped me understand what a gift marriage could be.