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Friday, November 22, 2013

Sepia Saturday 204 Life changing times

The week's prompt brings many thoughts and having been around the planet for 68 years, I have experienced many life changing events, some  heart warming, some tragic.  Here in the States we are marking 50 years post John F Kennedy's assassination; he was the first president I ever paid attention to and my generation's most loved politician.  Up until then it was innocence of beliefs, faith in all being right and no doubts about what might come next.  JFK's murder, for that's what it was is an event that cut a wide swath through my beliefs as a Catholic and girl of the 60's.  That particular day I was prone on a sofa in  the apartment in Sacramento, CA, fighting the most horrid morning sickness ever suffered by a pregnant woman, and yet stirred with the TV reporting what could not be happening in front of me.  As if it were not bad enough now that I knew I was in a big dilemma, across the country from all family and wondering WTH I could have been thinking to get myself into that pitiful, dreadful marriage anyway, my President was killed.   Ahhhh life twisted along from there some uphills, some flat times and some joy, some scathing downhill jolts. 

I did get out of that mess but found myself a young single Mom, determined to stay in CA and not to return to Pennsylvania and readily admit that my mother was right.  Oh I was 20, didn't I know everything?  Not so by a long way.   To my rescue then by rail road, journeyed my maternal grandmother aka Baba Rose alone across the country from Pennsylvania,  to stay with me, help me with the baby, get me on my feet  and provide  the love she had all my life. She did not scold nor say "we all told you so....." No none of that, she was absolute strength and support.  I regret that perhaps I did not appreciate her as much as I should have although she knew I loved her very much.   

Here she is in December 1965 with Steve who is  18 months old.  We were all surviving on very tight finances; I was working two shifts at McClellan AFB and she was encouraging me to go back to school, to finish college because she knew I was too smart to stay below what I could achieve.  Above all, she told me, "you will marry again, but next time be careful, don't jump into anything and choose a good man; you learned a lesson, don't  ever forget it."  Very prophetic as Jerry would come along shortly after she left.  Wish she could have met him.   

Rose was already only 70 years old here but looks much older.  She was the grandmother who raised me; she and the family helped Mom, her daughter who was a WWII widow pregnant with me.  Rose had experience in spades with us young Moms.  She stayed less than a year before returning home to Pennsylvania.  She helped me get my head on straight and never criticized my decision to stay there in California, on my own.  She said, "You'll make it, you are smart and pretty and headstrong, don't look back, look ahead."  Before she departed for home, she found another grandmotherly woman who would babysit Steve for pittances when I worked, and who would adopt us like family.  I don't know what would have happened without her, my grandma Rose who helped me in the crisis of a lifetime.    I did a lot of growing up then, fast, through a life changing time. 
1965 Steve at 18 months with his great grandmother,
my grandma Baba,  Rose Ostrowski Kochanowski
This has been just one life changing event for me.  To see what others in the Sepia community have to say this Saturday, click here to the site http://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2013/11/sepia-saturday-204-23-november-2013.html

13 comments:

  1. Great that you were able to tie in your story with the death of JFK, and that you came through your early life experience ok, including that dreadful morning sickness!

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  2. Life is tough and it does get better. The memories of Baba are wonderful and I am glad she came along side of you.

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  3. Grandmothers are often the ones who help us when we need when we need it most. Glad it all worked out,

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  4. Grandmothers are often the ones who help us when we need when we need it most. Glad it all worked out,

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  5. What a great post and a tribute to those amazing grandmothers some of us had.

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  6. A neatening story linking a tragic national/international event and your own personal distress at that time, with a wonderful grandmother to support you. .

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  7. Your experiences then make Steve's death seem extra tragic.

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    1. Yes, Steve's was the worst; It will be 5 years this December... I have often wondered how much tragedy one is expected to bear, but the Kennedy family had theirs too.

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  8. In the picture of her, your Grandma Rose appears as a strong, sensible woman which, from your story, seems to ring true. Lucky you to have such a Grandmother in your life to urge and support you without condemnation. A real treasure.

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  9. Such a moving personal story and not one we could have anticipated being connected with Kennedy.

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  10. You know I never considered before I wrote this how connected it all was with the Kennedy tragedy...and yes, my grandma Rose was strong old Polish stock...I remember listening to her when I was about 7 years old and another old lady came to visit for consolation; the other woman's husband was a heavy drinker and would sometimes hit her. Baba said, "what's the matter with you? Why do you put up with that? He's going to go to sleep sometime, that's when you get the frying pan and hit him on the head...." I believe she was serious. That's why she encouraged me to never repeat my mistake...

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