Picking Blackberries to Your Heart's Content

As a child you'd never think picking blackberries would create such an impact, but great memories are made in the blackberry bushes – like this one!

I’d be lying if I said this one didn’t make me a little weepy. Here I was just minding my own business, paging through GreenPrints, when I stumbled upon this sweet tale of a child meeting her grandpa in the blackberry bushes, and picking blackberries to their heart’s content. It’s a short read, so I won’t go much further into it than that, but I know you’ll enjoy it.

I think I love this story because it reminds me of my old family reunions growing up as a kid. All I remember is that we went to this big old white farmhouse in Maine that everybody called “the farm” where Gramma and Grampa White lived (still not sure whose grandparents they were), and I’d see all my distant cousins that I only saw once per year because my family is so far spread out. The hills there were rolling, but just like in the story, there were blackberry (and raspberry!) bushes we’d all clamor over to get into, and I don’t ever recall seeing an adult all day during those reunions, just frolicking in the fields and tall grass with my cousins, long before anyone worried about ticks. After they passed, we didn’t have any more reunions, but I remember them fondly!

Thinking about it, I actually have lots of warm memories of picking blackberries, at home, at school, in the woods, and on the walk to the bus stop. Gosh, didn’t anyone ever tell me not to eat random berries in the wild? Guess not! But today’s story, Blackberries with Grandpa is about as sweet as it gets when it comes to memories of your grandparents! Enjoy!

More Stories About Gardening with Kids

This story comes from our archive that spans over 30 years and includes more than 130 magazine issues of GreenPrints. Pieces like these that inject the joy of gardening with kids into everyday life lessons always brighten up my day, and I hope it does for you as well. Enjoy!

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Blackberries with Grandpa

By Michaela Bauer from Lebanon, OR.

I was 2 years old when I went to a family reunion at my great-grandparents’ house in Sodaville, OR. There was no food I liked to eat at the party; no chicken nuggets, no pizza, no French fries—nothing! Thus, I ran to the little garden in the back with a blackberry bush where I spent most of my evening, eating my dinner.

Granddaughter eating blackberries

After some time, my great-Grandpa (Grandpa Strasse) came over to see what I was doing. I looked up at him with my purple face, not yet knowing who he was. I liked him right away when he decided to eat the blackberries with me and subsequently, my two sisters.

Whenever we went back to the house, I’d look for the kind old man, but he was nowhere to be found. I looked in all the logical places—cabinets, fridge, under the tables. I thought that if I waited at the bush long enough, my blackberry friend would come. On one of these visits, Mom asked what I was looking for and I said I was looking for Grandpa Strasse. This is when she explained what had happened.

I bear no sadness, only happiness, that my earliest memory involved me doing something fun with a family member I’d never see again. I still eat blackberries off the bush and think about Grandpa Strasse. To this day, gardens are among my favorite places, and when it has a blackberry bush, even more so.

By Michaela Bauer from Lebanon, OR., published originally in 2022, in GreenPrints Issue #131. Illustrated by Linda Cook Devona

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Do you have a fond memory of picking blackberries as a child? I have many! Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear yours!


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