My grandmother in law - Tillie - would be 110 today - phew. She was a good woman - a woman who did beat 'to the beat of her own drummer' though. She came over from Poland in a boat as a baby. She had to quit school in second grade and work the fields. Tillie was in an arranged marriage at age 15. She had two children a boy and a girl - Frank and Ann.
Ann was, her daughter, was my husband's mother. She divorced Ann's dad when Ann was just 15 and made her quit school to work the store and take care of her brother Frank. It was a successful grocery store. Her brother got to finish school and Tillie did go out quite a bit and left Ann alone at the store. I don't think Ann ever got over that. She didn't see her dad anymore. (A side note - once about 40 years later she saw her dad one more time. Tillie was there and she said, who was that man, he seemed so nice!). She never finished her education as Tillie didn't think it was that important for a girl. I guess you'd say that Ann was frustrated because she got cheated out of her childhood?
Tiller was a real entrepreneur. She owned multiple three flat apartments as well a couple of twelve flats in Chicago. Bought stocks that did so well her stockbroker wanted to know how she did it. She knew how to make money instinctively. When her third husband died she went to the driver's license facility and laid $2 on the seat of the car and bribed the testers - she was a maniac driver! She would drive halfway on the curb and half way on the street. Ann never learned to drive.
I sensed that Ann was always kind of mad/hurt that she had to quit school and mind the store and I don't really blame her. Tillie - married again and divorced. Then she met Tony - the love of her life. And of course that was hard for Ann too.
I asked my husband what he remembered and he remembered they were both great cooks - simple meals, but delicious. And they had dinner together every single Sunday.
In Chicago there are sections. There's a Polish section, an Italian section, China Town, a German Section, and so forth. Every year they all held their own festivals. I miss that. Georgia does not have that. I guess we are more International or diverse here.
For holidays they would drive back to the Polish area and pick out the chicken or turkey - live - and they would slaughter it right then and there. Fresh, right? And they would buy pounds of fresh Polish sausage - the real stuff and the kids would love it. The smell when you walked in the house I can still remember.
My own parents were divorced and Ann always invited my mom over - and we never had to split up the holidays. My dad was in LA. My mom loved Ann and Ann loved her. Ann was a funny lady - if you were in 'the circle' the family circle - you were IN! But woe if you were not in the circle - it was just like Meet The Fockers.
Every birthday of everyone - through the years we celebrated - at the house who had the birthday! The kids grew up that way. Ann and Ernie had 3 - two boys and a girl. And those each had two children for a total of six grandchildren. All of us with a boy and girl.
Tillie eventually got Alzheimers and died in 1996, Poor thing it was really before they knew that much about it. She thought the birds were fish. If we brought her out - she stole things like the napkins or the menu's. We loved her though. Ann brought her home - but she took to wondering and fell a lot so they had to put her in a home. Tillie I felt was always a happy self made woman - who did what she wanted to do.
Now Ann had Alzhemiers as well and she died about 3 months after her mother at 75. She was a great MIL and a good grandma to the kids. She loved loved loved the grand-kids. She actually died of cancer - with the AD she forgot she had cancer - and she would write notes to herself to remind her that her stomach hurt and to take medicine, but she refused to go to the doctor until the cancer had spread - they didn't even know the source. But the good thing about the AD was that she forgot she had cancer. Weird.
Just a ride down memory lane today. There is really no moral to the story. They were both wonderful women. They both helped out all their kids financially - thank you Ann and Tillie. But I thought I'd share what life was like back then compared to now.
Thought for the day:
I remember the day I met Ann for the first time - I had never met her before and we were already engaged. She told me she told Ernie (FIL) that she was going to like me no matter what and she bet it was serious as my hub had never brought anyone home before.
And we loved each other every since. Thanks Ann for loving me completely.