TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT...BABCIA!
- Babcia, which means Grandmother in Polish, was very proud of her Polish heritage. She passed on that pride to all of us, especially her ability to have a good laugh at ourselves. She enjoyed a good Polish joke, even at her own expense!
- My fondest memories are the traditional Polish Christmas Eve celebrations, Wigilia, with the entire extended family that she hosted for years. Before she hosted, we would gather at her childhood home in Philly where she and her mother (my Great-Grandmother whom I called Babcia) would spend days preparing the traditional Polish foods. Although I never became a fan of all the Polish delicacies, I do enjoy a good pierogi and Babcia's famous coleslaw. As my Mom stated in Grandmom's eulogy, "we can all make it, but no one can duplicate it!" It's an old world recipe brought over from Poland and passed down through the family...pretty much the only coleslaw I like since it is vinegar not mayonnaise based.
- Grandmom never sat down for long. She was always on the go. The way I've always described her is a Triple Type A personality with a lot of get up and go! I only wish I had a fraction of the energy she always seemed to have in abundance.
- I wouldn't be surprised if I looked up the origin of the phrase, "cleanliness is next to godliness" and found a picture of Babcia! If she came for a visit, it wasn't long before she was sweeping, dusting or washing my dishes! She was always company ready and back in the day would have everything in place before Grandpop returned home from work. My Mom tells me, she would get out of her house coat after doing her chores, put on a dress and prepare the kids for Dad's return...kinda like Leave it to Beaver! Hubby can only dream about coming home to a tidy house and wife...another thing I wish I had inherited from my Grandmom...the clean gene!
- Babcia was quite independent, having lost her husband in her 50's, she lived by herself until she needed to go into nursing care in her late 80's. Up until that time, she enjoyed driving herself all around visiting family and friends. I will never forget when one of my cousins was given a car from his other grandmother. Not to be outdone, Babcia gave me her two toned brown and tan Ford Fairmont to take to college! I fondly referred to it as my "Grandma car" since she had given it to me. I soon realized that I couldn't have picked a more perfect name as every time I passed it's equal on the road inevitably there would be a little grey haired lady behind the wheel who could hardly see over the dashboard!
- Grandmom had a love of music that was apparent in the way she was always whistling or humming a happy tune. She could play a piece of music on the piano by ear, apparently never having had a piano lesson! In her later years in the nursing home, she would always respond so positively to singing. At my last visit with her, she perked up to sing "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story and Bobby Vinton's "My Melody of Love." Mom and I ended our time with her by singing that rousing rendition of the Polish Prince's - "Moja droga, ja Cie kocham, means that I love you so!" She joined us, with tears in her eyes (and ours!) and a wistful smile on her face. What a perfect way that was to say good bye to Babcia!
- One of the many talents Grandmom had was crocheting. I don't doubt that all of the family members have several afghans that she created. I've got several for special occasions: graduation, marriage, baby showers! There are even Babcia creations in my childhood doll house including crocheted rugs and bedding.
- Grandmom never forgot a special day or even a not so special day. I could always count on her for a friendly little note while away at college or camp and it would always lift my spirits...not to mention my bank account. She always had a $5 or $10 tucked in the card or up her sleeve if she dropped by for a visit! It was always so nice to receive a little note in the mail and they always seemed to arrive at just the right time, too.
- As I've been thinking about what to include in my Top Ten list about Babcia, I realized that we had quite a few special connections. We both named our eldest daughter, Darla! She and my son share the same birthday, only 81 years apart! I was her first grand-daughter and in turn, my Darlin' was her first great-grandchild (there are 16 and counting!) She was the first in her family to receive an 8th grade American education, paving the way for me to be the first of her grand-children to receive a Master's Degree. She's the only member of the family whom I barely surpassed in height, so I suppose I have her to thank for my short stature!
- Her Christian faith was an important part of who she was as a devout Catholic. She enjoyed attending our special events at church and school. She was present at my graduation from seminary, traveling all the way to Massachusetts to enjoy the ceremonies with Billy Graham delivering the commencement address! She shared my love of God, encouraged me in my schooling and supported me in all my church involvements. She was there for all of the important milestones in my life, the most special to me was having both of my Grandmothers at my wedding and the baptisms of my oldest children! How many of us can boast of that?!
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