It’s been awhile since I last blogged. I have a good excuse. My grandma, Teofilia, or better known as “Tillie,” died last Saturday and so we spent the week juggling between returning from our respective trips, driving down to Jersey, attending the services, then returning to work. It was quite a whirlwind.
A little bit about my Grandma, my Dad’s mom. She was almost 88 and pretty sick for the past year. I mean, she’s been sick for awhile, but it really went downhill this year when she was back and forth between the hospital and nursing home. She was born in America, but her parents were both from Poland. So she was very Polish. Yes, I have Polish in me, in case you didn’t know that before. She even spoke Polish and I picked up a few words here and there. “Babchi” is Polish for Grandma. Growing up, I saw her probably 2-3 times a year and talked to her on holidays and her birthday. She was always a good cook and I loved her lumpy mashed potatoes the most! My Grandpa, her husband, died over 20 years ago, so she was on her own for a long time. She always talked so highly of him and how she couldn’t wait to be with him again. You could tell they had true love. My Dad had two sisters and my Grandma treated him like gold. He could do no wrong! Of course, he held her in the highest esteem too. She always told me I looked like her when she was young, which was a great compliment because she was a truly beautiful young woman. I think I usually shocked her with my life decisions because her common response when we would talk was, “oh my.” When I decided to move to Arizona, our conversation went basically like this:
Me: So I’m moving to Phoenix, Arizona.
Gma: Why would you move there?
Me: I don’t know. It will be a good opportunity for me and I like the sun.
Gma: Oh my. So far away. And what about the people?
Me: What people Grandma?
Gma: You know, the people.
Me: You mean the Mexicans?
Me: They’re just people like you and I. There’s a lot of different people in New Jersey, and we all mix well.
Gma: Yeah, but it’s so different there.
She was funny like that. Not racist, just that she grew up in different times. You can imagine how much her heart went faint when I started dating a Mexican! I think that’s why she liked J so much … When my Dad was young, they spent a good time living in the projects of Jersey City as the last white family. She was also funny about living day to day. Because you never knew what tomorrow would bring. That was the experience of living during the depression coming out in her.
So now she’s gone and we only have the good memories. I included a photo below from my wedding, probably the last time she was really well. I love those rose-colored glasses she always wore!
This was my first funeral/wake (I was in Germany for my Pop-Pop’s in 2004). It was very … happy. It was just good to have the whole family gathered. We did a lot of reminiscing. Not that I want to have another funeral, but it was great to see everyone.
That’s it for now. I’ve thought about several other posts I want to write. I even missed Earth Day (everyday is Earth Day for us though!). But, my writing is on hold for now. I am heading to Nashville tonight and am still way too busy at work! Things should simmer down soon.
I’m ending with a quote from Leo Rosten, a Polish-born American (fitting) writer and humorist …
“The purpose of life is to matter—to count, to stand for something, to have it make some difference that we lived at all.”