Wednesday, June 19, 2013

ha ha - it's been so long that even Blogger doesn't know me

Where to begin? Maybe I should work backwards.

Right now, I am taking a break from packing for tomorrow's teaching trip to North Carolina. Dinner won't be for another hour so I am eating a small bowl of cold cucumber yogurt dill soup, which I made this morning. VERY low in calories and divine.

2 cups 1% yogurt (200 calories)
2 cukes (free)
2 cloves garlic (ditto)
bunch of dill
bunch of mint
1 tsp olive oil (why? -- but it's about 30 cal)
salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste

Tonight's dinner will be low fat shrimp scampi on a minimum of pasta and homemade coconut ice cream for dessert. (hey, you gotta have dessert).

It has been an interesting few weeks.
Yesterday morning, my beloved brother Jon left for home (Pittsburgh) after having been here to help me TRY and make a dent in our mother's apartment. We were there every day (almost) and it was by turns frustrating, exhausting, stressful, and hilarious.

Ma was truly a hoarder and we are dealing with the aftermath.  But she was a neat hoarder: all the STUFF was hidden away in drawers, closets, and her storage area in the building. We found an almost full case of bathroom tissue that she brought over in 1992 when she moved (and did not touch since).
Our father was in the wholesale contractors' supply business and since he also sold paper towels, kleenex, and the contractors , we always had a carton of each (i.e. 96 rolls) in the basement.  Uh - the business closed 25 years ago.  This is the tip of the iceberg.

It isn't all bad: we found my grandparents engagement certificate, their ketubah (marriage certificate) from 1913, my great-grandparents' passports and green cards, and other wonderful papers, postcards in Polish and German from Europe in the early 20th C before they exterminated all our relatives who had sent them.

We know a lot about my mother's side of he family.  Our father's side is a mystery.  Our grandmother died when our father was five and we're not even sure what her maiden name was.  Ellis island records and other genealogy sites yield nothing because on her 4 childrens' birth certificates, her last name was spelled 4 different ways.  And there is a fifth spelling on my aunt's wedding certificate. We can find no record of her on the boat with any of those spellings.  We know when she was born and when she died -- but there is no record of anything else. We don't know whether our father's parents were married in NY or NJ, but eventually we will have to check NY's records.

On Sunday, Jon and I went to the cemetery to find our grandmother's grave.We found it, discovered her Hebrew first name, and were still clueless about anything else. Here we are, happy to be together.

I think I should get back to packing for tomorrow's 10 hour drive to the South.  I'm looking forward to teaching on Friday and Saturday.  After that, we go to Durham and on Sunday will pick up my quilts on exhibit in Chapel Hill.  Monday, we head for home.


deanna7trees said...

i found my mom and grandma on the Ellis Island site but not with their last name but with the last name of the relative who sponsored them. looks like that was a usual practice. they had to have a sponsor to come to the US and that is the name they listed on the manifest. sounds like you found some treasures.

Connie Rose said...

Good to hear from you, Rayna. Glad the cleaning up has had its sterling moments. Sounds like there's a lot of good stuff in the mix.
I had a fair amount of luck locating my maternal grandmother in the Ellis Island archives, she even came in with her own last name (Fuchs -- which she changed to Fox). But that's the only thing I was ever able to find on any of my relatives.
Have a great teaching trip!
Much love.

Lori R said...

Greetings, Rayna! I am one of the lucky ones who will be spending Friday and Saturday with you. Can't wait!
Lori Richardson

Julie said...

Lovely photograph of your brother and you Rayna. I know how hard it is to sort out a parent's home as I did it for my mum when we moved her to a care home but there are treasures and memories to lighten and reward the task. I hope you are able to find out more about your family but how good to have found your grandmother's grave. Enjoy your teaching.

tiedyejudy said...

Missed hearing from you, but glad you were able to make a dent in cleaning out your mother's apartment. Have a great trip and class... lucky students to have you there to teach them!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful to find treasures buried with the toilet paper! Ha! Thank goodness all that hard work was rewarded.

Now that recipe looks good... did you tag this post so I can find it again? Hmmmmm?

Bonnie Miller said...

One of my sisters and I went through the raft of emotions while cleaning out our Mum's granny flat too. She had kept a hanky box I had made for her when I was about 11...and now I am almost 65...although Mum died twenty years ago. We also found my sister's christening gown tucked away in the back of one of the drawers. Our Dad died in 1957 so Mum had been alone for a long time...but the best thing is that my muttley and I now live in the granny flat! One of our daughters along with her husband and three boys are living in the family home that Muttley was brought home to as a baby. Our life cycle continues...

Linda Hicks said...

I just watched a documentary named The Flat about a clearing out of a grandmother'sflat in Tel Aviv and a big surprise. Love you posts!

Martha said...

Best wishes on dealing with the trash and treasures; so glad your brother was there to help. I loved reading about the process and imagine most of us can identify with that nostalgic time in our families. Makes us more aware of what WE are keeping that our children will have to deal with!
Martha Ginn

soup weather in June and a little more

DISCLAIMER: Blogger is giving me grief tonight, which you will see by the varying sizes of the type. Ye p, soup weather and it's ...