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Posts Tagged ‘family history’

Roadside Vision

I have cars on the brain maybe.

On the road to town there is an old car

that reminds me of old photos Mom saved.

Her pictures always struck me as from a Once Upon a Time era that was never truly real.

But the car I pass en route to town

is a daily reminder of a living past.

I found a photo Mom saved of her family’s new car, but Bill said, “No, that isn’t the same one we see on the way to town.”  Or, is it?

Grandpa's New Car

The Grandparents’ New Car – No Date provided.

Does anyone know anything about this Once Upon a Time vehicle that belonged to my grandparents?

What year is it?  And what make?  And I wonder how much it was to buy?

Even if it is not a match for today’s roadside version, it still stirs my imagination and I yearn to take a trip back in time.

Oh for a visit to my grandparents who must have been excited to have a new car, to the aunts and uncles and cousins who may have lined up to see it, and the kids who wished for the keys.  

They were my own family and their lives went by before I ever got to know them.  But they are all somehow lingering and alive in that flat tired, beat up apparition I  see almost every day on the way to town.

 

 

 

 

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Antique Necklace

Grandma’s Necklace

My blogger friend, Barbara, of Silver in the Barn, is doing a series of wonderful posts for a collection of her family history. Read anything of Barbara’s and I promise you will be hooked!

Although I know sadly little of my own family, Barbara has inspired me to revisit a story about a special necklace.

My grandmother (Bertha) on my mother’s side was from Germany.  And although my grandparents immigrated from Germany to America and Bernard learned the language, Bertha never did.

She grew up in a village in the Black Forest called Waldsee which means Forest by the Lake.

There in the village she met my grandfather Bernard, who was visiting from Holland.  They married and had two children; a son, Ludwig, and my mother, Ida (and later, in America, another son, Carl).

Bernard left his young family in Germany to make a life in America and as soon as he “found his feet” and was able to support them, he sent for his wife and children.  As the story goes, my mom was a year old when she and her mother and older brother, made their way from Europe in a tough ocean journey to New Jersey, U.S.A.

D Grandparents 2

Bertha and Bernard

I never really knew Grandma Bertha because she died when I was five or six years old.

Grandma came to live with us for a while in Florida.  How fascinated I was by the big lady in the wheelchair who sat at her bedroom window admiring sunshine and blue skies and smiling happily at a little girl she so adored.

Constrained by the fact that Grandma did not speak English,  I recall feeling awed over a perceived hugely personal connection that spanned generations and ignored language barriers.  It was all beyond the comprehension of a mere child.

But one day that feeling of being cherished was forever sealed with a beautiful necklace!  That same necklace and the overwhelming feelings follow me even now, when I have  grandchildren of my own.

How surprised I was when my Grandma reached into her bag and took out a beautiful shining thing!

She smiled and folded my two little hands around a sparkling necklace, and then I felt  her own big warm hands enfolding mine.   And with that, she looked into my eyes and nodded her head up and down, as if to say, “This is for you, my love.  This is for you.”  And she kissed the top of my head.

I immediately knew the necklace was a most precious gift!

My heart was about to burst with pride.

Gandma trusted me with this hugely important thing.

And I vowed with the fervor of a child never to lose it,

to keep it safe in some secret place,

and though I did not quite understand it,

 to cherish it as a symbol of an overflowing love.

A jeweler told me the necklace has no monetary value.  It is only costume jewelry with onyx stones.  But as a little girl I thought it was priceless, and must have been one of Grandma’s most treasured possessions.  Now, as an adult, I still think it is priceless and it is among my most treasured possessions.

And just as I originally vowed, it is always kept in a safe and secret place.  I wore it once to a dance and felt as beautiful as Grandma must have been when she wore it so many years before.

I remember how the lady I never really knew tried in German to tell me how she felt.  But it was the necklace and her holding my hands together around it that made me truly understand the meaning of love.

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Mom Notes

Some of Mom’s Notes in Her Own Hand

This  Weekly Photo Challenge is “letters.”  I immediately thought of  Mom who died 21 years ago.  I didn’t quite understand why but I could never part with the little card notes she used to attach to gifts.  They were always clever little mini-letters that had special meanings.  Over the years I finally realized the notes were my mother’s messages of love.  Each  refers to some important phase of my life, some special thing I was yearning for, some incident or occasion that must have seemed all important to me at the time.   I do not recall  the phases or the occasions or even what the presents were, but the letters turned out to be the real gifts.

Are you wondering who Dorf is?  

When my new little brother was learning to talk he called me Dorfy instead of Dorothy.  

That morphed into “Dorf” and that has always been my nickname in the family.

 

 

 

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