|My grandma, Baba Rose|
I do not know if this blog site that I reference is in existence today and I have long ago lost touch with that person, but I keep it here for reference. Rosaria, over at 65 Now What pondered "What I did for Love" You can read it at her blog, http://sixtyfivewhatnow.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-i-did-for-love.html .
I replied " As we journey through life when we pause to look back over our shoulders, the past changes shape. I have had many of the same thoughts you expressed here as we prepare to go to PA next week, my old home, not as far as Italy, but with no more family, some distant cousins who are off on their own lives. I joke that when I want to see my relatives, I go to the cemetery, but that is telling and chilling. But lately I find my mind meandering, oh what if I had not gone to CA, if I had stayed in PA. It is so true that the choices we make when we are young make our worlds different and our paths diverge. Hindsight....should'a's...oh my."
|1958 PA me with Baba and two cousins visiting from CA|
I was the big girl
And it seems a mouthful. Much good has come from my life that I was fortunate to be able to rebuild in CA. But even that I could not have done without the help of my late maternal grandma, Baba as I always called her, Polish for grandma. Finding myself a single mother in CA but employed, she was determined to help me. She road the train cross country to come stay with me and babysit while I worked and got some money set aside. I regret to this day that I never thanked her enough, I could not have made it without her and when I pray for her soul I pray she knows how very dear she always was to me. She really did raise me as Mom was working, not common back then, but my Mom did.
There were many reasons or justifications for my decision, most having to do with the impetuous rebellious nature or spell I felt at the time. I wished often that I could have talked with someone, my grandma, my Mom, my aunt somebody who could have rescued me from what would create the curvy twist on my life road. At odds with my Mom, ours was a rough relationship through my adolescence, today I know she wanted better for me than what her life had been, but I so resented her. To say we did not get along would put it mildly. How much was my rebelliousness and how much was her innate ability to try to control me I will never resolve. I only know that I had no intention of getting married to that guy, no intention of running off as I did, but I was so tired of Mom nagging and sneaking around finding out where I was, with whom, etc. So to the surprise of everyone including myself as soon as the spell wore off, I eloped with him, impetuous rash dumb decision but at 18 I thought I was so smart, Rocky road to be on, regretted it very soon, but I was young enough to think it could work and it would get me to CA, destination of my dreams as a young gal growing up in western PA.
One morning after arriving in CA, I woke up across the country in CA with the man I could not stand, and thought, "What the hell am I doing here, I belong back on the Allegheny campus!" But a stubborn soul who could not admit a wrong choice caused my perseverance and after all it was CA, the Golden State. From that mistake,and after shedding him, I decided to stay out west where Jerry and I met and well here all these years down the road it has been a good thing.
But like Rosaria, I wonder about my family ties. These become more important now or is it that I think more about that with the frequent trips to PA and the impending trip this coming week? Sometimes we know it is not beneficial to entertain our own thoughts to an extreme--persevere and onward. Somewhere in the Bible and literature those powerful themes recur.
|Greenwood cemetery, PA where I visit all my family.|
And when I say visit the cemetery I realize I am continuing a ritual from my ancestry; I remember going to the graves with my grandmother and her sisters. It made not much sense to a child, but to me today long into adulthood it makes all the sense, a time to reconnect, reminisce and remember. Remembering is important--just ask those who care for the demented who have lost memories.