They were the ones with doilies. And hats, which they wore when they went downtown, and big laps waiting to be filled with little bodies.

Because they were grandmothers, of course, they were from another time: sometimes from another century and always from a time that was both harder and simpler. They had lessons to teach.Sometimes they offered words of caution, sometimes it was just a look or a way of carrying oneself through the world. Because they were grandmothers, they could be heeded. Grandmotherly advice was different from parental advice. Parents nag. Grandmothers philosophize.

"Put on your powder and paint and be what you ain't," Bertha Frank used to tell her granddaughter Nancy. Of course Nancy Borgenicht, who was Nancy Sandak then, didn't wear powder or paint in the be-natural 1960s. And the message behind the makeup didn't feel right to her.

But now that she's older herself, Borgenicht can see the wisdom in Grandma Bertha's meaning: "Smile and get through it."

Bertha Frank grew up in Russia, emigrated to New York's lower east side and couldn't wait to go West. She and Arthur came to Utah and opened a clothing store and raised five children.

Borgenicht, executive producer at the Salt Lake Acting Company, remembers a woman who wore a hat and gloves to go out, and made gefilte fish when she stayed home. She was ample and soft and by the time Borgenicht can remember her she already had white hair, done every week at the beauty parlor.

If you asked Grandma Bertha how she was, she'd say "I'm fine. I didn't see myself in the paper this morning." Borgenicht understands now that it was both a joke and a little victory speech. Now she finds herself looking at the obituaries every day, too.

Bertha was Buddha-like, says Borgenicht, who hopes she's going to grow up to be a grandma just like her. "I'm going to get me one of those Yiddish accents and cook gefilte fish," she says. "I can't wait."

Borgenicht thinks about what kind of useful advice she might be passing along to her own grandchildren and decides it's this: "There's always room for one more dish in the dishwasher."

Michael Leavitt's grandmother, Phyllis Okerlund, still lives in Loa, Wayne County. "She was a major part of my upbringing," he says. She taught her grandchildren to hold their forks properly and never to eat ice cream directly from the carton - which are good lessons, especially for a young boy who might grow up to be governor someday and find himself seated at a banquet table with a bunch of other governors, all of whom have nice table manners.

She was the secretary/treasurer of the Wayne County Republican Party for 49 years, which also influenced his inclination for politics. But most important of all, she let him know he was important to her.

Leavitt recalls being 11 years old and going to her house for one of "Grandma's special hamburgers." This consisted of him getting to sit in front of the television and being served a hamburger on a TV tray. He's been a lot of places since then and been served many an elegant dinner. Still, the hamburger at Grandma's house is high on his list of memorable meals.

Smiley faces and half-hearted suggestions to "Have a nice day" do not begin to approach the kind of positive outlook Elizabeth Kormendy had, says her grandson, Al Church.

Kormendy's optimism was genuine, an actual hopefulness about everything, says Church. "Her favorite expression was `Everything will be hotsy-totsy.' "

Kormendy emigrated from Hungary to Detroit, where she and her husband ran Kormendy's Hungarian Dining Room in what eventually became one of the city's worst neighborhoods. The couple was mugged twice, but Grandma kept smiling.

When she eventually died, at age 82, she was still cheerful and serene, says Church."On her deathbed, she was still a smiling angel."

Church spent nearly every weekend of his childhood at his grandparents' house, where he felt loved and encouraged.

"You could be Walter Cronkite," she would tell her grandson, who eventually graduated in Bill Clinton's class at Georgetown and is now principal of Riverview Junior High School - where everything isn't always as hotsy-totsy as Grandma predicted but where Church can usually manage a smile anyway.

Janet Muir recalls her grandmother, LaVern Parmley, who was president of the LDS Church Primary Association and editor of The Children's Friend magazine for more than 20 years:

"She was one of the early working women. A modern woman, born on Jan. 1, 1900. She had the best of all possible worlds. A job and a husband who drove her to work every day. I thought that was a pretty good trick.

"She was a combination of steel and velvet . . . heavy on the velvet. She'd been the eldest of 11 children. So she was a pure pragmatist. She knew how to get from A to B and she didn't let details get in her way. She had principles but great flexibility.

"She never forgot anyone's birthday. She'd buy hundreds of those boxes of horrible cards and make them all out at the beginning of the year. Then she'd put them in a tickler file and mail them out month by month." Muir says she always worried that her grandmother would inadvertently mail a card to someone who had died. But she never slipped up.

Grandmother Parmley never lost her awe of travel, Muir says. "She was born on a farm in Murray and here she was, traveling the world. She found good in every culture. Especially Polynesia. She was into Samoa."

Muir is now an attorney in New York. She says her grandmother taught her the value of rising early each day. Her grandmother was always the first one up, to bake bread or write letters before getting ready for the office.

"Growing up, when one of us felt depressed or sad or unloved, as any child does at times," remembers singer/songwriter Pete Breinholt, "my mom would pull that person aside and say `Who loves you the most?' And we would think about it for a minute and say `Nana!'

"And several times that lucky soul was put on a plane to Grandpa and Nana's house on the other side of the country to stay for a few days, or for a week, or for however long it took for them to get better. Sort of an intensive care for sad kids.

"It worked. And it still works. We're scattered around now, but the siblings still take off sometimes to visit their little refuge with Nana from time to time, where they know they will be loved the most. And I think that constant love, that unconditional love, has most certainly built up the way we see ourselves now."

Debra Kooring recalls her Oma, Jantje Kooring, who emigrated from Holland after World War II. "She didn't talk much about the Occupation. She did tell us about having to burn railroad ties for firewood, and how the walls got covered in soot. She told us, once, about making coffee out of dried peas."

It seems Oma was used to hard work and adversity. She left school after third grade to get a job. In 1956, when she and her husband and four sons immigrated to the United States, she was proud to be the first in the family to find work, as a housemaid. "She had a job from day one," Kooring says. "Her life lesson to me was that you should always give your best at anything you do."

In the early 1970s, after the death of her husband and one of her sons, Oma became despondent and withdrawn. Then, at the urging of her sons and friends, she started working as a foster grandparent at the University of Utah Hospital.

Her family calls it a miracle, how quickly Oma's spirit returned. She'd always wanted to be a nurse but never had a chance to get the education. For 20 years, until she died at 86, she walked back and forth between the University Hospital and her senior citizen apartment on 2100 S. State.

Her granddaughter would often pass Oma on a downtown street and offer to give her a ride. She'd smile and brush the offer aside and keep on walking.

After she died, her grandchildren were amazed to learn she'd saved up money to leave to each of them. "She was living on less than $400 a month, Social Security," Kooring says. She and her siblings remember her example of frugality whenever they are tempted to say they can't make ends meet.

Attorney Pat Shea treasures some words to live by from two grandmothers. "One was my Irish Catholic grandmother in New York. We called her `Moms' but her name was Helen Shea. She taught me how to play poker. She always said, `Hold your cards right and don't blink.' "

"The other was my Mormon grandmother Flora Leonard Woodall. She had two pieces of advice, `Eat the bread while it's hot' and `If you don't get better, I'll give you a mustard plaster.' " The thought of burning mustard on his chest cured young Pat of any inclinations he might have had to be a malingerer.

Rhoda Stay has generally lived up to her name: for the past 75 years she's been at the same address in Salt Lake County, raising seven children and then staying put to share homemade bread and wisdom with 30 grandchildren, 92 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great-grands.

"I learned endurance from her," says granddaughter DeeDee Pierce of Cedar Hills. "No matter how bad things are, you just keep going."

Stay never learned to drive, so when Pierce was in high school and college she would drive her grandma to the grocery store. That's when Pierce learned how to be frugal. She learned about service, she says, from just watching how Grandma Stay lived her life.

Now nearly 99 years old and probably no more than 70 pounds, Stay continues to make her famous tamale pies and divinity for anyone who drops by.

"She's one of my best friends," says Pierce, 36. "A kindred spirit."

Mary Jane Taylor's grandmother, Hazel Robinson, died several years ago at the age of 103. She lived alone and took care of herself up until the last year of her life.

She was very witty and cynical," Taylor says. "I got the cynical part.

"She was inspirational in the way she lived her life. She had so much dignity." Even in old age, Grandmother Robinson would dress nicely and do her hair every morning.

Taylor, who is a social worker, is glad her grandmother lived long enough for them to know each other as adults. When she was a young mother herself, she could appreciate her grandmother's stories of being a young mother. It was a connection to a time when women's lives were so much harder.

When she was in labor, with each of her eight children, Hazel Robinson would hold a napkin dampened with chloroform and sniff of it a little. When she and her family made a trip from Provo to Salt Lake City, it was a daylong wagon trek. Where the road narrowed, near Point of the Mountain, they'd send someone to scout ahead to make sure there wasn't another wagon coming. It was important not to end up having to back your wagon along a steep edge.

Taylor's fondest memory of her grandmother is late in the older woman's life, when she couldn't see or hear too well, so she'd get her face as close as she could to one of her grandchildren's faces, says Taylor. "And then she'd just tell us how much she loved us."