• I write this tribute to my grandmother, a strong woman who perservered through emotional and  financial hard times.  Her mother died when she was only two, so she grew up without that family bond.  An older sister took her in as a teenager, only to marry her off to an older man. Soon after several children were born, her husband went off to WWI, where mustard gas and shell shock injuries left him disabled and in military hospitals for the rest of his life.  Grandmother went on to raise her children alone, suffering the loss of one child to the 1918 flu epidemic.  Perservering through family losses, she went on to survive financial difficulties of the great depression, through seamstress skills and her own dress shop. When I got to know her in the last decade of her life, I saw a seasoned woman, yet her inner strength glowed brightly around her.

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  •             Under arm flap wings: A letter to my Grandmother 

     

    Dear Mummie,

    I remember when having under arm flap wings just was not such a bad thing. Mummie; I remember the times when you asked me to help pull the freshly washed clothes through to the back of that old fashioned washing machine. In those clothes would go into the front of the washer wringer and out of the back. I would use my tiny hands to help pull them through and drop them into the large straw basket on the floor. Mummie; I always knew when Arthur would come to visit you Arthritis that is, and being a young slave girl laundress in the big house really taught you well because you always warned me about putting a pillow slip atop our heads. So that, the sun would not disturb our eyes I would stand on a stool as you would reach to me wooden clothes pins one by one, and when you would spot the grass on the ground amidst the spotted eye impression from the heat of the Southern hot sun.  Mummie; I knew you enjoyed hanging out those clothes and I did too. When it was time to hang the last piece getting down off of the stool you would begin to gather blades of grass so did I both green and dandelions.  We would braid the healthy green blades and the contaminated grass together. I knew you were teaching me scriptural lessons Matthew 13:24-30 the parable about the wheat and the tares coming up together. How the good would come up alongside the bad.  Mummie; you saw my innocence and then it was time to get my crown. Oh Lord, when she would put that grass crown atop my head I felt like I had come back from the dead. Especially, when I knew how her hands and fingers were always aching. Mummie you still made me your little queen. Now it was time for the real treat after hanging up on the clothes lines freshly washed sheets. I could always tell when Mommies was missing her country life living in the city ain’t always easy. Mummie; took such pride looking at those sheets blowing, bending, and swaying from the spurts of billowing winds of the hot Southern summer heat. Finally, we would make our way back into the house after dragging her aching legs up the back scorching concrete steps. Mommie; I knew you could never take me to the neighborhood part let me swing on the swings, or jump rope with me, but you gave me so much more, for sure. Mummie; you literally gave me wings because I knew when you would lie down on your back in the bed call me Lannie after I reached you a glass of water with an aspirin, I anxiously awaited when you raised your sweet smelling arms so I could lye my tiny head on those under arm flap wings. I felt safe if only in that moment. Mummie; I remember when under arm flap wings just was not such a bad thing.A Letter to My Grandmother

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  • My grandmother on my mother's side was born in Chechkoslovakia in 1899.  Her mother passed away and when she was 9 years old because her stepmother did not want her, her father sent her to America to live with Aunt in Chicago, Illnois.  She lived in Chicago until she married my grandfather.  One of her daughters was my mother.  My grandmother was one of the most loving, giving human beings.  She had me stay with her in her flat in Chicago many times after my Grandfather died of cancer in his early 50's.  She took me all around Chicago and taught me a lot about being independent and loving, and kind.  She came to live with my parents and sister for a few years in Berwyn, Il..  She went to live with my Aunt and Uncle in Charlotte, N. Carolina because my father was mean and uncaring at times.  I was very upset with my father.  My grandmother taught me a great deal about living with hardships and as I said to be kind and loving.  She talked to me about many things and taught me how to cook Bohemian dishes of all kinds.  I will always miss her.  P. Dubsky

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