Sunday, May 8, 2011

Milwaukee Memories This Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, I always think of my mom and grandma who were domestic engineers extraordinaire. 

My grandma (Babcia) came to America at the age of 15.  My babcia was a seamtress who made me wool pleated skirts and wool bathrobes. This family was always styling.  I wonder what they'd think of my daily wardrobe of sweats or jeans and a tee-shirt. The entire family of women crocheted beautifully.  I've inherited bedspreads and tablecloths.  The stitches are so perfect you can't tell the right side from the wrong side (where stitches are finished off). I can't sew or crochet. But I can scrap some.
 
My grandpa died the year I was born.  My mom and youngest sister lived at home.  My aunt and her family lived in the flat upstairs.  My uncle died when I was quite young.  This was a matriarchal family.  So when my mom married in her late thirties and moved away, visits back to babcia's were quite special and eventful.  I remember the first stop was the deli/bakery on 13th Street for Polish ham and fresh kielbasa.

I struggle to make pierogi once a year on Christmas Eve.  But, unlike crocheting, this is one thing I was able to pick up from my mom.  Babcia could whip them up like nothing when my sister and I came to visit and requested them.  We'd sit at the table in the basement kitchen and visit with her while she made them for us.  In a matter of minutes, we'd be eating the best pierogi ever.  The fillings she made were typical of the region in Poland where she grew up: either cheese and raw onion or ground beef, hard boiled egg, and sauteed onion---never, ever mashed potatoes.  
This is my grandma in her garden.  It was a postage stamp sized garden in the city but it was filled with flowers.  Here she's standing in front of the trellis where she grew parsley and lettuce. I don't remember the veggies but I do remember row upon row of beautiful flowers.  I was always amazed that my mother could identify any flower.
This garden also is where family photos were taken.
What I remember best about the back yard are the kittens under the back porch and this bench where we always posed.
Note my crocheted sweater in the first photo.  Note my sis holding one of the kittens in the second photo.  This is my entire family plus my cousin Mary who grew up living in the upstairs flat with my aunt and uncle.

This seems so long ago.  I found a song by Connie Francis to play while this post is up.  She was popular when I was growing up, and I remember this song well.  "Mama" seems appropriate for today.

20 comments:

craftattack said...

Lovely art work and wonderful memories! Valerie

Terry said...

What a wonderful tribute to some great memories! Love the photos you shared! Yes, they would be so proud of their scrapping girl in her jeans and tee-shirts! Beautiful pages!

Jack said...

I really enjoyed looking at your pages. This is such a beautiful way to keep memories.
Jack xx

Lori said...

Wow, these layouts are SPECTACULAR Helene! I just love them, such gorgeous work, and what a tribute to your family!

Gerri Herbst said...

Thank you for the beautiful memories today. Family traditions are so important. Glad u can make the pierogis. LOL. Your layouts were so heartfelt, loved them. take care, gerri

nancy said...

Happy Mother's DAY, my friend! I soo enjoyed reading and admiring this post! GREAT photos and stories...thank you for sharing! AND LOVE the Connie Francis!!!!

SusanK said...

What special memories...just stunning layouts! I'm a willing guinea pig for pierogi testing. :)

Marjie K said...

Wow, these layouts are beautiful. I love how you incorporated new papers/embellishments with the sentiimentl B&W photos. Each page is fabulous.

Carla said...

Wow, what great memories, and you have shown us just why we scrap, to preserve those memories, love your lay outs!

stampdiva said...

Helene
Thank you for not only sharing your artwork but also the photographs and memories.
You honoured your family so beautifully in your layouts.
Wishes
Lynne

MommaSaid said...

This is an amazing tribute to the Mothers you've loved. You have such a way with your words and the photos (and pages) are amazing!

Shar said...

Stunning pieces for Mother's Day! Beautifully done and instant heirlooms I am sure.

Dezinaworld said...

this is the most amazing mothers day tribute absolutely fitting! this is so touching and inspiring. thankyou so much for sharing this creation
Hugs June
X

Yvonne said...

Such wonderful memories are captured with these pictures, I'm sure :)

fairyrocks said...

This is a beautiful testament to the strong women in your life. I enjoyed this glimpse into your heritage.
Keep smiling and making Perogi's!!!!

JoAnne said...

How nice of you to share this beautiful tribute Helene!

1CardCreator said...

Gorgeous lay outs, beautiful memories, thanks so much for sharing!

clare said...

such fab scrapbook pages and i just love the photos. x

Maggi said...

I so enjoyed this post! What wonderful memories to have and I love the ways that you scrapped these pages! Would love to have some of your perogis, LOL!!! That isn't in my heritage but it sure is something that I LOVE! Now I can make some awesome black eyed peas and pork! LOL, southern gal here.

Thanks for posting my blog candy, I sure appreciate it!!

Cathy said...

Such great memories! Gorgeous art work! You are an inspiration to me!

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