Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Granddaughter's Tribute

My maternal grandmother didn't talk much about her life, but she did share some stories with me as I grew up at her side.  I lived with her from the time I was an orphaned one-year old in 1958 until I left for college at age eighteen in 1975.  I never really lived with her again, but did "go home" sometimes, as all young people tend to do until they realize that they have been pushed out of the nest. 

My grandmother's nest was quite worn out by the time I left home, as I am quite sure was her patience with the younger generation.

I was child number sixteen that she raised. 

When she married she took on two stepchildren, proceeded to have ten children of her own, and then took on the care and raising of my three older brothers and me when our parents died.  Did I mention she did this all on her own?  Apparently my grandfather was a mean and abusive man.  One of the stories I did hear was that he treated my grandmother abusively, which she took for many years, but when he turned his violence toward his children she kicked him to the country road (they didn't have curbs where they lived!).

Where my grandmother learned her resiliance I don't know.  She came from a family that didn't approve of her choice in husband, didn't support her life on a farm nor with her propensity to keep having children.  Her familiy was everything to her; basicially it was her children that were dedicated and through them she found love and loyalty.

Here is the story of Elizabeth Antoinette Wlkelinski Oberlander, my grandmother. 

MaryAnna Wardynski and Anthony Wleklinski
Elizabeth's mother and father

Elizabeth was born in 1912 in the coal mining town of Horning, Pennsylvania.  She was sister to nine others, most of whom I either never met or was too young to remember.  She was quite close to two of her sisiters, Irene and Helen, both of whom I do have memories of spending time with.

When I was growing up my grandmother was, well - old, or so she seemed to me.  Here is a photograph of her as a young woman.  The man in the picture is unknown, but I can see the shadow of the future woman I would come to know in her young and beautiful face.

Stay tuned; tomorrow more pictures and more of my memories of her and the story of her life that I've been able to piece together.

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