Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Life Stories

My grandparents have been on my mind the last few days and my reflection is a mishmash of  my memories of them. My paternal grandparents Myldred and Edward Matz were an interesting couple. Edward immigrated from Russia when he was a young man. I don't know a lot about his story unfortunately because he never talked about it with us or my dad.  Myldred, on the other hand, loved to talk and she doted on her two sons, Roger and Jerry. I remember her love of jewelry as she always wore big earrings and matching necklaces. The above photo has me right next to my older brother Mike, Uncle Jack, my Great Grandmother Holmes, Myldred and Ed. My Aunt Virginia was most likely the photographer.  She was the cool aunt who moved to California and was back visiting. 

(three generations of Bruch women on my grandmother's back stoop)

I spent a lot more time with my maternal grandparents, LaVera and Ewald Bruch.  My grandfather died when I was in elementary school but I do remember him spending a lot of time outside with me. He would introduce me to the trees and other plants in their peaceful yard. He also let me wash his hair and comb it which I thought was great fun. I thought he was a very kind grandpa who liked to hold my hand and swing me up and around. Later in life I learned he had been an abusive father to my mom and her two brothers. It's very difficult to mix my memories of him with hers. I spent a lot of time with the two of them and then later, after Ewald died I spent my summer vacation with my grandmother and she was my person. 

For years my mom and I struggled to have a positive relationship (my middle years were rough) and my grandmother was my go-to person. I'm happy that I can hear her voice in my head;  I hear her say my name and I see the smile on her face as she looks at me. I learned so much from her like her love of gardening and good food. She knew all about pesticides and if she brought produce home from the grocery store she would rinse everything in a vinegar mixture before eating it or cooking it. She lived through the depression so saved everything. My cousin Linda and I loved to play in her basement for hours. There were many treasures. 

We played countless games of Rack-O and Spite and Malice as I grew up. I felt blessed to have such a warm and tender-hearted grandmother in my life.  She listened to me and I felt like a whole person in her presence. That was golden. If I could bring her back for just one day I'd love to sit and talk, play a game of cards, and lay my head in her lap. Life is full of wonder and hardship. I think my grandparents symbolize that for me and I must be feeling a strong pull toward this right now.

(My grandpa Matz being silly with me)

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