My Grandmother and her Superstitions

by Jean Hart Stewart

I’m starting a new book where one of the heroines is charming, but ruled by her superstitions. There are two heroines since the two heroes are twins. This one is going to be fun. And I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandmother.

My grandmother insisted her grandchildren call her Kate. It was surely the only modern thing about her. She so strict I hardly dared call her anything at all. Once I came home from the corner store with a carton of root beer. I had to take it back because it had ‘beer’ in the title. I hope she’s in heaven but hasn’t bothered to check my current life style! Oh, and if one gave you a purse you better find some money in it, although even a penny would do. If we went out the door, forget something and turned back, we had to circle a chair three times and then sit in it for a moment for being allowed back out. Oh yes, and you didn’t give anybody a knife because that would cut your friendship in two.

The one thing I remember with pleasure is that she had beautiful white hair which fell to her waist when she set it free from its tight bun. She occasionally let me brush it, and as a child I dearly loved doing that. She seemed a little fey at times. Once when we were on a visit she took my mother aside and told her to get me to a doctor, something was wrong with Jean. We laughed about it on the way home but a few days later I suffered an acute appendicitis attack which necessitated an emergency operation.

Mostly she was such an aloof figure I had little interaction with her. But I certainly remember that austere, aloof woman who somehow had my best interests at heart.

I’d love to know your superstitions. We all have some, even if we try to dismiss them as nonsense. Come on, tell me yours. Please?


I feel I’m very much a Californian although I was born in Ohio. California has been home for a good many years. Life changed drastically when I was six and my father died, incredibly from an errant golf ball. A dishonest insurance agent left us with little income and forced my sheltered mother to seek work, and she became a teacher. Her hours required me to be alone in the house most of the afternoon, and since I was forbidden to leave till my mother got home, I became an avid reader. The local library supplied most of the books and I fell in love with both Jane Austen and King Arthur.

Reading is still one of my favorite activities, although I often have to push it aside to make room for my compelling love of writing. My journalism degree wasn’t much use to me until recently. Marriage and raising two children pleasantly got in the way. After twenty years of being a real estate broker and with the kids raised I could finally devote my time to writing, my first love.

Few things in my life have been so satisfying, especially when all my books have a happy ending. Wonderful to make that happen. It only gets more interesting when a secondary character demands his very own book. Sometimes a new character is so noisy I just have to give in. Shouting inside my head gets my attention, believe me, and those guys usually turn out to be fun to write about.

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4 Responses to My Grandmother and her Superstitions

  1. Mina Gerhart says:

    Your Grandmother sounds like she must have been an interesting and wonderful person.
    My Grandmother Sadie’s superstitions were just about exactly the same, no shoes on an elevated surface or facing the wall, never give a purse without money and don’t eat the last chocolate. Mom Sadie also believed you DON”T exit a room by the same door you entered by and don’t wish bad things on people or the bad wish will stick to you.
    Great blog Lisa!
    Mindy 🙂

  2. Some of my grandmother’s superstitions found their way into my first novel, too! Eating the last chocolate in the box means you’ll be an old maid, opening an umbrella inside is bad luck, finding a penny is good luck, throwing salt over your shoulder if you spill it — all great quirks!
    I loved this post. Thanks so much for being my guest.

  3. The blog looks great, Lisa. Thanks for having me….Jean

  4. Patsy Hagen says:

    Your grandmother sounds as if she was a wonderful woman. My late-husband thought my grandmother was a witch. She, also, had superstitions she lived by. Don’t put shoes on the table or bad luck would follow their owner. Don’t place the toes of shoes to the wall(on the floor) or bad luck will follow. She had many more superstitions, but the ones about shoes came to mind first.

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