(masthead) All Seasons bed and breakfast inn, Fairbanks Alaska
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“What a delightful accommodation and atmosphere. Breakfast was done so very well! We will highly recommend your facility. Many thanks, a memory to cherish.”
—Bob & Thelma, Cherry Valley CA

Mary's Stories

Grandma and Her BFF
Published March 5, 2008 in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

My grandmother, Margaret Stephenson, celebrated her 100th birthday last month at the Pioneer’s Home.

A number of fellow residents at the home joined the family for chocolate cake and the happy birthday song in acknowledgement of grandma’s astonishingly long life. Up until just a few years ago when she first needed assisted living, she lived alone, drove a car, brought her groceries, cooked her meals, grew flowers in the summer, and every Friday morning - come hail or high water grandma followed a long standing ritual of going to see Bunny at the beauty shop to get her “hair fixed.”

As grandma aged, many family members asked her to tell them stories of her life. She retired as a buyer for a department store when she was 62. When my son was a boy he once asked her what merchandise she bought for the store. She replied, ready-to-wear. She had to explain that when she started her working career most stores sold only piece-goods or cloth to make clothes. Now they sell clothes that are ready-do-wear!

In her last years of living independently, grandma had a close circle of lady friends, some older, some younger. She took great delight in being the only one in the circle that still drove and had a car. She drove the ladies to outings for lunch, to the grocery store, or for a morning of shopping. One of the ladies in the group was Bobbie Overton. You cannot imagine my surprise when my sister-in-law tapped me on the shoulder and reintroduced me to Bobbie at the birthday party. Bobbie, also a resident of the Pioneer’s Home, was 100 in September. Bobbie’s friendship to grandma remains stead fast and untarnished by grandma’s failing memory. Bobbie is grandma’s B.F.F, her last best friend forever.

In this day and age we often hear of people who live 100 years. And, while we acknowledge reaching 100 as remarkable, most people don’t stop to think of the history and events that occurred in this country during grandma’s and Bobbie’s lifetimes. My grandmother was born in 1908 at home to parents who drove a horse and buggy. Teddy Roosevelt was President. The U.S. flag had 45 stars. Her first presidential vote saw Calvin Coolidge elected. The first movie she saw was silent. While many “modern inventions” were in operation by 1908, most were not common in the households of a country girl like my grandmother. She remembers seeing her first telephone, automobile, flush toilet, and my son recalls her sharing her amazement at seeing her first airplane. Her first washing machine cost $33.50.

These two ladies had grandparents that fought in the Civil War, saw their brothers go off to the first and second World Wars, and sent their own sons to Korea and Vietnam to fight the battle of the cold war. Grandma was about the same age during the Russian revolution in 1917 as her great granddaughter was in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down. Never did it occur to either of them that they would live long enough to travel on a jet plane, watch movies at home on a television, carry a telephone in their purse, or that grandma would start her car from inside the house.

Grandma liked to come to the Inn and visit with the guests. On a summer day, you would sometime find us on the sun porch playing Scrabble, having a cup of tea, and eating from her tin of home made fudge. Grandma’s fudge and her life are well revered by family and friends, and by guests who chanced to meet her. Now that grandma no longer makes fudge, I would like to share her recipe and this story of two ladies who have lived 100 remarkable years so you may share it with your best friend forever.

Grandma’s Fudge

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 can evaporated milk (5.3 oz)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cups miniature white marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole pecans

In a large saucepan mix milk and sugar and cook at medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles (approximately 4 minutes). Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir until melted and add salt and vanilla. Stir in pecans and pour into an 11x 13 dish sprayed with Pam.

763 7th Avenue,
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701

(907) 451-6649
Toll Free 1-888-451-6649
Fax (907) 474-8448
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