Monday, February 25, 2008

How far we've come, yet how close we are...

You know, I miss my Babcia. She passed away oh, about 10 years ago, and I still think of her and the times we shared. I inherited a lot from her and it amazes just me how deep that goes. For example, my great-grandfather (her father) loved to build and a house he built still stands going out of Mocanaqua towards Glen Lyon. It's the house beside the diving bell--it's hard to miss--it's the one with the plumb walls and level roof.

I used to sit in awe of the stories she told about how she had to pay kids in grade school to tell her what the teacher was saying--she only knew Polish and no English. Tales about their family constantly moving to find work--Mocanaqua, Gary Indiana, Kentucky, back to Mocanaqua. I miss those recollections.

I inherited her love for travel--going with her on Greyhound to visit my Aunt Charlotte and Uncle George in Michigan. Taking the Greyhound from Shickshinny to Wilkes-Barre for the Cherry Blossom Festival. Flagging down and riding the Greyhound (again!) to Bloomsburg for the Fair, then coming home by myself on said bus (at the ripe old age of 8) after getting separated from her for what seemed like the Fair, a perennial occurrence.

I inherited something else from her too. We both brought and I continue to bring growlers of beer for our fathers. Can you believe it? I remember her telling me how after a hard day in the mines, her father would give her a nickle to go to the beer garden and bring back a bucket of beer. I would imagine he felt out of place there, probably only knowing Polish, and probably too dog-tired to go himself. But at the same time knowing that he needed a beer to relax after the tenseness of working underground all day. These days, I do the same thing. I, being fortunate enough to usually have a couple of beers on draught, usually fill a gallon sun tea jug for when I go see my Dad (except during Lent). Right now, he's building a house and a gallon of whatever I happen to have, goes a long way to cool the frazzled nerves.

I didn't know my great-grandfather but I think I'd have loved him. Just like my Dad.