Showing posts with label Baba. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baba. Show all posts

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

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sepia Saturday Week 18 Ostrowski Sisters (Click here to view others' posts)

Today I share the oldest photo I have of my beloved maternal Grandma, Rose Ostrowski Kochanowski (1895-1970) with her sisters and brothers, some of Frank Ostrowski’s children. I found this torn and ragged at the bottom of an old suitcase when I cleared my mother’s house in 2004; Mom had written the names on the photo who knows when. I was amazed to discover this and so wish I could have known about it when my grandmother was alive to tell where and when, etc.


This was the wedding of Rose’s brother Joseph to Catherine Buhl (Buehl) in New York. Date unknown. Joseph (1878-1957) is the oldest of Frank’s children from the first wife and appears to have migrated from Poland with his parents. I have not been able to identify the three young girls seated in front. The others are, seated left to right, my Grandma Rose, brother and the groom Joseph Ostrowski, the bride Catherine Buhl (sp?) and brother Ben Ostrowski (1883-1959). Standing are her sister Veronica (Vernie 1892-1961) who married Alex Roginski, brother Walter F known as Bill (1889-1956)who changed his name to Austin, and sister Mary (1891-1964) who married Thomas Janosky.

Rose, Mary, Veronica and Bill were Frank Ostrowski’s children from his second wife, Frances Swartz who was from either Germany or a German occupied part of Poland (1869- 1902). My grandma never distinguished half brothers or sisters; they were all family, all Ostrowskis and that was all that mattered.  By the way my line of Ostrowski's spelled their names with or without the "w" and several other variations... The sisters remained very close throughout their lives. Rose outlived them all except for the baby, Francie whom we saw on previous Sepia. Many Sundays I accompanied my grandma on the bus ride across the river so she could see her sisters Mary and Vernie. Sometimes they made the journey to my grandma’s house, but Aunt Mary’s house was bigger with a formal dining room so most gatherings were there. But my grandma would haul pastries and pies along that she had carefully made the day before. All the sisters could cook, but Rose was the best baker and so these treats were often  her  contribution to most gatherings.

Here are the sisters and their husbands in 1945 during one of Francie Mroz’s visits.

Seated left to right, Mary, Rose, Francie and Vernie; behind them their husbands ( left to right) Tommy Janosky, Teofil Kochanowski, Al Mroz, Alex Roginski.  This is the only photo I have of all the girls and guys together. Notice those old  cars to the side.

I recall little about Great Aunt Vernie except that she became very ill and bedbound at the last; I think she suffered stokes. Aunt Mary remains very vivid in my memories; she was always in a good mood and always smiling. Somehow she found the good and the humorous in everything. Whenever I would act silly or burst out into uncontrollable laughter as a child my grandma would say, “you are just like Mary she thinks everything is funny too!”

Actually whenever I would act out or up as in this photo of me with a purple costume wig and my Grandma Rose in 1961 after Granpap died, she would say, "just like my sister Mary!"  I had decided that we had enough of being sad and that  Granpap would not want us sitting and mourning.  My poor Grandma didn't find a lot to laugh about at the time, so I tried to cheer her up being silly. 

Aunt Mary’s laughter was so contagious that people caught it quickly just being around her. I remember Mary and my grandma washing dishes after a big family dinner and holding their sides doubling over with laughter at the sink. Rose threw her wet dish rag at Mary telling her to “stop making me laugh I am going to wet myself!” That only brought more laughter and my grandma’s mad dash to the bathroom. Today when I get an attack of the giggles I think of my great aunt Mary.

 I don't know how she kept a straight face for this snapshot of their 60th something wedding anniversary, Mary and Tommy Janosky. But he looks like he is about to laugh, maybe expecting something from Mary soon.   Rose kept this photo which featured the cake she had made for them and all the  pink roses.  



In that same suitcase was this old photo of a mystery girl, whom I believe is posed for Communion and who must be one of the Ostrowski's though no one could identify her.  She is certainly serious.   


As a result of these Sepia Saturday posts I have been contacted by some previously unknown relatives in PA, FL and OK; all part of the Ostrowski lineage. They were Googling and found me here. I hope that the same good luck continues so I can resolve more of this puzzle of my family.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Different worlds of communication



I've just spent several hours tidying up my project room, which is the big downstairs bedroom that is off the study and that also serves as my work out room. I love being able to just leave my projects in process out in what may appear disarray in that room. That way when, the mood strikes me I can go in there and start to work on sorting photos, scrap booking or whatever the pending project may be. I don't have to pack it back into a box and put it away because that room doesn't get any other use. And it's downstairs and not visible to guests when we entertain upstairs. Lucky me!

But, something needs to be done sometime soon, so I chose today. Janine, one and only grand daughter is coming for a week in April. She will be here the same week that Jerry's brother, Rod and family will be here. Rod & Katie are teachers in So. Calif. and Janine is a college student in No. Calif. but every one's spring break is at the same time. So we will have a houseful for that week.

This bothers no one least of all, Janine, who announced she would be taking over the downstairs--this is our finished basement. I agreed she could have the bedroom down there but Grandma would have to tidy up her projects--some of which are strung across the bed. Janine likes the big screen TV & the rec-room and so fancies herself to be in charge of the lower floor. While I can keep my sewing strewed across the coffee table in the study I could not leave the bedroom in it's mess. So now things are packed up and into the closet. Trouble is, I won't likely get to doing anything with those photos, etc. for who knows how long now--out of sight out of mind.

Today while tidying I sorted and threw out some things. I started with a small box of photos and trinkets from my grandmother. She had saved these and I brought them from PA in 2004 when mom died. I did toss out photos of people no one knows. I have asked the only two who might--Aunt Jinx and Uncle Carl and they could not identify the people, so no need to keep these. Old black and white photos from how long ago. I found wedding photos of my cousin Roland who lives in Madison, WI and will mail those off to him. Another treasure which I'll pass along to him are photos of my aunt and 2nd cousin, Stella's, trip to visit them when they lived in Milwaukee. These show he and his folks and his brother and he should enjoy them. It was always a big deal to the Polacks in PA to take the train to Milwaukie...I made that trip every other summer with my grandparents. Rollie can pass them along to his daughter or one of his son's. Those are in an old black and white photo book, remember how the old photos were developed into these spiral photo books? They'd charge us who knows how much for such a thing today!

What I find very strange is how well the old black and white photos have lasted. Some of the photos are from the 1940's and 1950's, yet they are just as clear and certainly better than the color photos we took in the 1970's.

What brings me to the blog now is a telegram that I found. My grandmother had saved a Western Union telegram which Uncle Carl sent her in maybe 1944 or so, when he was in the Army. And there it is today in 2009! A telegram wishing her and all Happy Valentine's Day. Way before cell phones, texting, Facebook and/or email. Hey, this must even be prior to Hallmark cards in all their glory which are used to celebrate and greet today!

I wondered if it scared her when she opened it, because telegrams were not a good thing in World War II. She kept it a long time, so I cannot part with it in 2009. It will go into the Ostroski-Kochanowski Family scrapbook. That is when I get back to the projects! A historical relic of communication from the past. How different it is today.

So here it is, the scan of the telegram and photo of my grandparents and me. That's Teofil Kochanowski (Grandpap) and Rose Ostroski-Kochanowski (Baba to me) , me and Carl Konesky, their son and my uncle. He changed the Polish spelling to something more Americanized Konesky then he and the siblings all began to use Konesky.

I was the star of every photo. On the right, is Uncle Carl home on leave from the Army. There was no date on this photo, but I guess it about 1945 sometime. The clothes were out on the line which shows in another photo taken the same time, and yet in another there I am in the wash tub outside. So it must have been nice weather. And I know this was when they still lived on 2nd Avenue in the old row houses. They and Mom bought the house on Catalpa St. when I was about 2 years old, so here we are prior to that.

I just noticed that an old factory smokestack which would have been across the river looks like it's coming right out from my grandmother's head. Funny. The 2nd street row house was near the river and I know they were all too happy to move up the hill onto Catalpa St.