Thursday, October 29, 2009

my grandmother, from Elizabeth/Ela

I believe my grandmother is part of me. I feel her love and her presence even though she died more than 30 years ago. She was a good person, wise, giving, quiet and - in a beautiful way - simple. I remember people coming to her for advice and moral support. She knew how to listen. I don't remember her smile much, but in my memory, I have a picture of her, with her warm, friendly smile.

My grandmother was very religious. Catholic. As a little girl, I tried to impress her by going to the church, even though, soon my experience with the institution of church went really bad. At the same time when I was escaping the priest who was a child molester, I realized I would never be able to identify with this part of her.... I lost my religion...

My grandmother had three daughters. My mother was the youngest child. They lived in a little town in Poland, close to the concentration camp. When my grandfather was sent to the concentration camp, my grandmother and her three daughters would go and throw food to him and to other people in the camp. The three sisters, young girls, kept going there and threw my grandmother's kasha knishes, over the camps fence, even after my grandfather death.
I still can not imagine how my grandmother could let her young children risk their life by sending them, bare footed (so they could run easier), so close to the gate of hell, the concentration camp.
Each time my mother tells me that story - it makes me feel good as a person. She was humane. In my life, I try to follow that direction.

Sometimes I wonder if my love for cooking and giving food to people doesn't come from her....

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