July 23, 2010
Oma's Stories: Part 1
Since we've moved in with my grandparents, my grandmother often tells Steve and I stories from throughout her life. She always says she could write a book with all of the things she's been through, and from the stories she's told me, I have no doubt that she could. That being said, I'd like to write down some of the things she tells me, now, while I still can.
Tonight, over a delicious blackberry crisp that I made (seriously, it was to die for) she told us, again, about when she and my grandfather first met. Actually, it was the second time they met, but apparently the first time wasn't very exciting. Oma's grandmother owned a restaurant and pub where her father played drums. This night happened to be Oma's (Lena's) 18th birthday and her father invited my Opa (Rudy) to come back to the house with them after the restaurant closed. Because it was her birthday, Lena spent the evening finishing everybody's drinks, to the point that she became quite ill. "My aunt, she watched me like a hawk," she told me, "and she took me into the kitchen." It sounds like there was some kind of couch in the kitchen, because Lena lay on the couch, and Rudy came with her. He ended up holding her head while she got sick, while the whole time, her aunt watched to make sure he didn't try anything. Oma doesn't remember much else from that night, but when she woke up, she found that Rudy had put his ring on her finger; his Slovak ring, she says.
At this point in the story I said to Opa, "She must have really been a looker for you to do that." He nodded and said, "Oh, yeah, she was; still is."
"But then I didn't see him for six weeks." she tells me. When she saw him again, he planned to take her out. Her family didn't have much money after the war; neither did they have indoor plumbing. To get ready, she hung up a towel in the kitchen and filled a small tub in which to bathe. She neatly laid her underthings, her only set of underthings, on a shelf while she took a bath. When she reached up to grab them, she accidentally knocked them into the tub.
"I started crying and said to mother, 'I can't go.' " When her mother asked why, she explained that her only set of slip, underwear, etc., had all fallen into the tub. Lena's mother went and explained to Rudy why she couldn't go. After hearing this, Rudy, who worked as a cook for the American's, the Army I believe, went out and bought her a whole new set of clothes.
There are many more stories that I hope to post on here, but this a small tidbit of why I feel so blessed to be living with my grandparents. I mean, how amazing is it to be learning from them daily, about their lives and so much more!