Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday at Grandma's




Sunday has always been the most special day of the week.

Celebration of this day has changed dramatically from my childhood but the memories remain precious, like jewels in a velvet-lined box.

All through childhood, Sundays meant visits to a grandparent's house. My mother's parents, Polish immigrants, lived an hour away from us. I can still recall walking up the back stairs of their two-story duplex and into a kitchen filled with the fragrant scents of freshly baked bread,(babka), homemade stuffed cabbages (golumpki), and all kinds of Grandma's culinary treats.

On the windows hung starched white curtains with intricately crocheted red and white trim. My grandmother's hands made eye-catching crocheted and knitted items throughout her home. Also a master seamstress, every Christmas of my childhood she sewed a pair of warm,flannel pajamas, without any patterns, for each of her many grandchildren.

Then tragedy struck when she lost her eyesight in the last six years of life. The handiwork from her fast-moving fingers came to an end. Life can be so cruel.

My father's parents, immigrants from Lithuania, lived nearby. There were chickens in the backyard and I remember how petrified I was of their pecking my ankles.

My grandmother grew peonies the size of footballs, in deep burgundy, pink, and creamy white. She, too, was a wonderful old-world cook who took great pride in stuffing her grandchildren to the gills.

Grandma went to sleep one night and never woke up. At the time we were all filled with sorrow but now I realize how lucky she was to avoid physical suffering and the fate of living out her days ill or, God forbid, in a nursing home.

The sumptuous dinners, made by beloved grandmothers, are a thing of the past. Now, we often eat on the run while out shopping or exploring other towns. But I can close my eyes any Sunday that I want and see the smiling faces of the women who were such an important part of childhood. One day we will meet again and I'm sure the reunion will be at a big table, filled with delicious homemade Polish and Lithuanian food.

There will also be hugs and tears, laughter and recollection of all those memories but no backyard chickens!

1 comment:

Diane said...

Oh my yes I remember those Sundays too..the grownups would play cards at our Dad's parent's house and I would play the piano. The children would run to the park and swing at the other grandparent's house. Sundays were always at our grandparents...we'd take turns at each place. Wonderful memories...thanks for sharing Susan. xo Diane

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