My sister Nancy, lives in our childhood home that she purchased after my dad passed away. My mom had already passed a few years before. We divided up treasured belongings, but by default Nancy ended up with a lot of her furniture and things. We are both super sentimental, having lost our parents when our own children were very little. We were very close to our grandmother, who passed after our mom just a couple of years ago. She was 93 and had lived through a lot of history that we only read about in school. Our mother and grandmother were also sentimental, often showing us things they had that had meaning for them--a gift from a friend, a handmade table cloth my father's mother brought her from Italy, old pictures of family, a piece of jewelry from a special friend.
One day, my sister was looking for something she kept inside my mother's night stand. My parent's bedroom set was now hers, but she kept some of my mother's things the way she left them. She opened the door on the front just enough to reach in. My mother's perfume scent permeated all the drawers, and she likes to keep the smell inside--one of the weird little things we do to hang on to mom's memory. She pulled out a tablecloth she had neatly folded in there that my grandmother had given her some years before when she left her apartment to go into a nursing home. When she unfolded it, this is what she found:
Written in red on the envelope marked important papers it says, "Diane & Nancy, I love you both dearly. Keep these and when your feeling blue take them and read them. I'll be looking down at you both 'I hope'! "
Inside, here are the things she found. A letter from my grandmother to her mother written on July 4th, 1931. She had just turned 10 years old.
Chicago Ill. July 4. 1931.
Dear Ma Ma
How are you feeling Ma Ma don't worry. We are safe(?). We are having a good time. But I miss you and pa pa. We had a long ride on the train. You did not want to give us any coats. It was cold on the train. Well don't worry we are save (safe?) home. Say Good by to every body. Theresa is having a good time. Your loving daughter
Fannie La Russa
Theresa La Russa
My great grandparents immigrated from Italy to New York. They had to send their two daughters 10 and 4 to stay with friends in Chicago while they found work. I still cannot imagine having to go through some of the things they did--immigrating from their home country, the Great Depression, World War II. I feel very blessed when I think about it. I can't imagine how my great grandmother felt putting her little ones on a train by themselves knowing she wouldn't see them for a long time. That is truly a mother's love knowing you're doing what you feel is the best thing for your children and your family's survival. I felt bad that they were cold on the train, but my sister reminded me that it was July, and was sure our great grandmother didn't think they would need a coat.
Also included was a picture my grandmother sent to my grandfather during WWII. I remember how proud she was telling us that she did her own hair.
She also wanted to share with us a poem she treasured from her dearest friend, Mary:
She also had some inspiration for my sister and me:
My sister reminded me that when my grandmother passed in the nursing home, she had very few possessions. She had some clothes and personal care items, but the only "thing" she had left from her 93 years was a framed picture of herself and my grandfather dancing at my sister's wedding. My grandmother had a hard life, but had a wonderful husband, friends and family who loved her tremendously. This envelope of gifts my grandmother sent us from heaven will always remind me that in the end, love is all you need.
In loving memory of my gramma,
Phyllis SchipaniJune 19, 1921 - August 01, 2014
Thanks for reading! I hope you all had a beautiful Mother's Day. Come see what I'm passionate about -- Visit my webpage at www.nobleniches.com to see my Treasures for Children & Home. Add your email to subscribe to my blog posts.
Treasures for Children & Home
Treasures for Children & Home