Week 2 of Sharing Memories is about grandparents. This again is one of those times where I desperately wish I had more memories from my childhood. I had three grandparents alive while growing up, but now I only remember slight bits and pieces. Maybe writing it out will help bring back more, so here goes. I’ve written almost everything I can remember, so I’ve broken this up into two entries.
My paternal grandparents were Grandma and Grandpa Lou, partly because my “real” grandfather died before I was born and Lou Goldfarb was her last husband. Grandma, Mary Miller, was married four times, or so I was told. I have still only found names for three of them. Grandma and Grandpa Lou lived in Miami Beach. She and Sidney Feldstein had moved there before he died. He was a smoker who developed emphysema and was told to move out of NYC. My father was stationed at Homestead Air Force Base, so everyone ended up in the same place. I don’t know if that was planned.
I really don’t remember much about Lou, except that he was there. I can still picture Grandma in my mind and hear how she speaks. I remember her condo in Miami Beach that we used to visit. I think I recall a Passover Seder there at least once. Weekend morning visits always had Entenmann’s donuts. If there wasn’t a box when we arrived, or we didn’t bring one, Dad would go get one. (I miss those; they don’t sell Entenmann’s in Utah. Someone ship me a box of donuts please.)
I remember the layout of Grandma’s condo, with a closet in the dining room where she kept some games. I inherited the Chinese Checkers after she died. I remember her kitchen and how my Dad re-did the ceiling just like he did our house with the drop-down opaque ceiling grid, except that our house had the yellow and orange motif while Grandma had the yellow and green.
Grandma’s Maiden Name
I remember sitting down with Grandma and asking her about her family tree, carefully writing what she told me. I was about 12 years old, so I didn’t know the right questions to ask. Still, I learned a lot which gave me a good start 14 years later when I got serious about researching. I remember her telling me that her name at birth was not Miller, and that she had no idea how to spell it. Slowly sounding it out for me, I wrote “Mullerzevich”. I mispronounced it for a few years, but when I found the name Mularzewicz, I knew I had it. Looking back, now that I know how to say the name, my phonetic spelling wasn’t too bad.
My Only Funeral
Grandma and Grandpa Lou died within about a week or two of each other, Mary first, then Lou. His kids came to her funeral in Miami and my parents went to his in New York (he is buried with his first wife). Years later, they told me how much they appreciated my parents attending in New York.
I remember going to Grandma’s funeral, which started at a funeral home in Miami Beach and ended up at Mount Sinai Cemetery in Miami. I don’t remember the service, but I do remember being handed the shovel. It is part of the Jewish tradition for each person to shovel some of the dirt over the casket once it’s placed into the ground. My Mom then took me for a short walk to visit my grandfather. They hadn’t thought ahead to buy cemetery plots together, so Mary was buried next to her brother, Alex, and “across the street” from her first husband, Sidney Feldstein.
To this day, it’s the only funeral I’ve ever been to.
Grandma once gave me a watch (which sadly I lost long ago) and told me there was a story behind it. She had lost the watch in an ice cream parlor when my Dad was ten, but he went there so often, that the person who found it asked if it was hers. The fact that she lost it once makes me even sadder to know that I lost it and never got it back. How did I lose so much jewelry as a child? Grandma gave me some other jewelry over the years, collected from various trips, usually pins. I still have those at least. She also gave me a doll from somewhere in South America, which I no longer have.
Another thing I inherited from Grandma after she died was her dishes. They had been stored in the ceiling that my Dad installed, probably put there by him, so he knew they were there. Not only did I get the Mikasa set, but also some other glasses and plates. They were not my style at all, but I quickly grew to love them. I eventually bought another dish set so I wouldn’t use them so much and risk them (I smashed one bowl to bits). For all I know, they were her wedding set. I haven’t tried to find out how old the design is but I want to. There are some of them with a different font on the back, so it appears that some were replaced over the years — I’m not the only one who has broken some of the dishes.
Anyone have any ideas how I can find out more about these? Easily?