I can imagine what my grandmother must have gone through when late one night in October of 1958 she received the phone call that her first born, her beloved Pat, had been killed. The last time she had seen my mom was the day of the party she and my dad would be attending. My mom came and borrowed a dress. The next time she saw my mom was in a casket. No parent should have to suffer the loss of a child, no matter how old the child is.
|Pat's high school graduation picture|
All the time I was growing up in my grandmother’s home I never saw pictures of my mom, and most certainly I never saw one of my father.
I believe the grief was much too present for her to have photographs as reminders; as it was, she had four small children, my brothers and I, as constant reminders of her great loss.
|Here is Grandma surrounded |
by several of her grandchildren
From the moment I could talk I called my grandmother “Mom.” I have no idea when I came to realize that she wasn’t my “real” mom; possibly it was in school when I was questioned as to why my last name was different. As my mom she taught me many of the basic things I would need to be successful in life, a domestic life specifically. I make my meals without recipes. I cook and bake the same things she did: beans and cabbage, spareribs and sauerkraut, chicken soup, beef barley soup, sour cream gravy and chicken, pasta sauce with a sparerib base, dumplings, and best of all, beet soup.
|An amazing soup!|
I learned to appreciate, crave even, the beauty of flowers.
When I am cooking something I learned from her or am digging in the garden, then stepping back to admire my handwork, I am thinking of my grandmother.
I find myself saying phrases that she uttered, especially the one curse she used most often: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; although this was said in Polish and not English.
My grandmother has been gone a while now, but she continues to live on in my heart and in the lessons I learned from her that I am passing down to my own children. Erin is the gardener and soap maker; Adrian is the soup expert.
Another thing Grandmas drilled into me? Turn off the lights when you leave a room!
For more on the things I learned from her, read my past posts: