Today my grandmother would have been 91 years old. She was an amazing woman, living on a farm alone with three children, in another state - while her husband worked in the family store. My Grandfather would come home on weekends to see his family, and then back to NJ he would go on Sunday night. It was rumored that they moved here from NJ because my aunt had rheumatic fever that cause problems and they had to move from the city. My aunt did have it a child - but I don't know if there was an urgency to leave the city or not. My grandmother never confirmed this story, so I really don't know if it is true.
Arriving here from Poland as a very small child, she learned to speak English - forgetting Polish, and then had to return to Poland with her mother and siblings to take care of the family business. She came back here a few years later - after learning Polish and forgetting English - having to again learn the language. This time, Polish was remembered and used many times while I was growing up to have adult conversations with my Grandfather and not worrying about us understanding a word.
My grandmother was a fantastic cook and a wonderful needleworker. She could do everything - and I mean everything!!! I don't know of a skill that she didn't know - lace net darning, huck embroidery, tatting, crochet, knitting, cross stitch, braided rug making, rug hooking, net making, and I could go on and on! And sew... Oh, she made beautiful clothes! She learned from her mother, and my great-grandmother was a fantastic seamstress. She said they would go to New York City and her mother would ask the kids what clothes they liked, and would come home and make them. Just by looking at them! My grandmother said they were always in fashion and the best dressed around. Sadly, the sewing skills were not passed on to me. :-(
She did pass many of the skills on to both my mother and me - but not all. Cooking was something that she was going to teach me, but became very ill and died before she could really teach me a lot. She took many of my favorite recipes with her - Spinach Soup, Potato Soup, and her Vegetable Soup as well. They were things she did with no recipe, and those were the things that weren't passed on as I was only learning. I do have a lot of her hand written recipes, but the things I remember most weren't written down.
My grandmother was a huge part of my life. I spent every weekend and every summer at the farm with her. We were pretty much inseparable until my later teens when I no longer had much time for hanging around there as I seemed to be dating all the time and doing teen-ager kinds of things. I will always regret that - because during that time, I could have been honing my skills in and learning so much more from her. I had assumed at that point that she would be around for many more years. She went to visit my uncle in another state, was diagnosed there with lung cancer, and she died before I could get there to say goodbye.
I miss you, Grandma.