For the Love of What I’ll Never Have

The most beautiful face in the world is the one I can only recognize across time
The most beautiful face in the world is the one I can only recognize across time

Today’s work is about what we have lost.  It’s a wish list of sorts, or maybe put another way, its a love letter to the ones we probably can’t have.  I don’t use real names in my posts to protect family privacy etc.  This photo is of my Grandmother a few generations back who immigrated from a small country in the Balkans. I refer to her in my blog posts as Grandma Urbanski.  I gave her this name because she lived and worked in the city (thus the Urban part of the name) and the” ski “just makes sense with the other surnames in the area.

I count her as one of my Lost because unfortunately, there is almost nothing of her left behind. Oh, I will never give up searching for more scraps of Grandma U, but the chances of finding anything more than her grave marker or this photo from her Naturalization Papers are pretty dim.

I am not ungrateful, having this photo alone is so very meaningful to me.  But, I wish that I could also see the face of her husband, of their 8 kids when they were young, or even another one of her.  The saddest part of this is that the artifacts of her life were not blown away in a storm or great calamity.

Her own children destroyed the entire contents of the house after Grandma and Grandpa Urbanski died.  Not out of dislike for them, but even worse it seems, out of the shame of them.

I know that they came here on a steamer ship, likely in the underbelly as 2nd or 3rd class passengers. They were young and newly married. How brave, adventurous and hopeful they must have been! They spoke no English and upon arrival and through the ends of their days they persisted in their “Old Country” ways.

What I would have found marvelous and fascinating about them, their own “first generation born here” children found insufferably humiliating.

These foreign born, huddled-masses parents who worked ceaselessly until the day they dropped were a complete embarrassment to their own children~the very ones they were working so hard for. I guess I would be angry at that generation of ungrateful offspring if it weren’t such a commonality across the board with all the “new Americans” and their children around that time.

Take some time today and write about who and what you feel is lost to your family.  Maybe it’s a story like mine. Maybe it is about the native tongue that you regret never learning. Perhaps you miss a certain food and don’t have any trace of the recipe. Or maybe you just miss your own Grandparents. Mine were all incredible and simply larger than life to me when I was a child. I was fortunate enough to know one of my Grandmothers, Gramcracker, well into my adulthood.  What an experience! To know her as a Grandma, and then, as an adult to know her heart as a woman.

I wish to know my lost Grandma “Urbanski” as well. I think she’s the one I’ll never give up on ❤




Tea on the Porch Swing

Yesterday while out-of-town on a kid errand (our youngest plays a travel sport) we found ourselves near a sort of long-lost relative.  The soccer team was celebrating with a pool party at the hotel, so my husband and I ventured out for a happen-stance visit.
I think my generation, baby boomers, is the last to practice and embrace this tradition.  When we say to each other ” hey, don’t be a stranger!” We actually are extending an open invitation.  Its something I really miss in our daily modern life and family.  We were in the neighborhood ( only a 45 minute drive from the hotel) so we did “drop-in”

 Unannounced, as that is the custom of my fellow “Boomers.”

After some winding around and false recognition (we had probably been lost that way before) we pulled up to the house of uncle Charlie.

Our plan had been to say a quick hello, or to stay for an hour if we weren’t interrupting something.  But the 6 years since we had last visited melted away in seconds and we sat on their beautiful long front porch scanning the crop laden horizon for hours.  While big city newspapers boast of all the news that’s fit to print, we sat in the shade swinging back and forth with cold tea and long-winded updates and re-visitations of all sorts of matters.

This is what I miss and want to hand down to my grandchildren. Unfortunately, it is lost and likely will be gone forever.   This seamless feeling of acceptance, of connectedness and of belonging to a family. I know it can’t always be like this.  It’s just a fact of life that some of us will never get along and “play nice” with all of our relatives.  In truth, if we had not been “in the neighborhood” we probably wouldn’t have made the effort.  But on that porch, on that hot afternoon, with those lovely people who look like my husband, and whom my children half resemble, that was bliss.