Thursday, August 28, 2008

10 Rocky Lane

This is 10 Rocky Lane.

It is located next to an overgrown German cemetery, in a picturesque Polish village near the Lithuanian border. The town is engulfed by dark forests which are flocked to by mushrooms enthusiasts and surrounded by 10,000 interlocked lakes that are renowned for sailing.


This is the house of my Babcia and Dziadek. My grandmother and grandfather.


As the highest elevated house in the village it sits next to an ancient water tower. This is the tower that I searched for after dark as an adolescent, to lead me back to my Babcia's house on my summer vacations abroad.


Two separate families live at 10 Rocky Lane. My Babcia and Dziadek live downstairs and my Babcia's brother and wife live above. It is safe to say, that in Poland, the bones of the house are wealthy and this house is considered to be an upper middle class dwelling. Furthermore, it is safe to say that the tenants are wealthy in love but considered to be stubborn as heck. This is not your average home in Poland.


The garden is a new addition. This is the garden that my Babcia's brother and wife manicure daily to occupy their retirement. It is beyond spectacular. On our vacation, Lola baptised it the "magical princess garden" and Jay fished in the pond with a twig and a piece of sausage daily in hopes of bringing home dinner for my Babcia. He also hand picked flowers for her and she smiled outloud as she pressed the flowers within the pages of her bible.


I invite you into 10 Rocky Lane. The stubborn computer-less tenants will never know you have entered. Although much has changed on the outside of the house, the inside is a virtual museum of the house that my mother skipped through as a seven year old girl.


The narrow unpainted hallway spills guests into the main room of the house, the living room. One futon couch, one Russian TV, a table, and a buffet filled with stemware that hasn't been used since communism all occupy the concrete slab of floors. Although modest in nature the delicate lace and wedding china remind visitors that at one point the house was filled with many entertaining nights.


Once in the hallway again, we pass by the mirror that my mother, her sisters, their daughters, my Babcia, my sister, and I have all re-applied our lipsticks at. It is the same mirror at which the comb and brush were swiped by a wild banshee of a toddler named Fifi and the cream was pocketed by Lola, whom is obbsessed with moisturizing.


The bedroom directly across that mirror is now occupied by my Dziadek. At one point it was my mother's room, the room my mother hid her older sister's stylish pea coat to wear for an upcoming Friday night date. Today, my Dziadek sits his days away while listening to the radio and watching the villagers pass by through his window.


Only a thin wall separates my grandparents, as my Babcia sleeps next door, beds placed in the same directions toes pointing East. My Babcia has said goodbye to three daughters as they immigrated to America and said goodbye to one son eternally. Alone with her husband of sixty years she spends most of her hours at this pray table reciting the rosary while peeking through her lace curtains.


A laundry machine, toilet, and bathtub occupy the only bathroom. The clothes are hung outside to dry and a plastic bowl subsidizes as the sink. This is the same "sink" that I used to wash off my knees when falling down after an afternoon of Chinese jump rope with the neighborhood girls. My Babcia, the stubborn stiletto sass she is, dislikes when people change her ways. The "sink" serves it's purpose just as the wind serves it's purpose to dry her clothes.


This is the kitchen of 10 Rocky Lane that used to feed four children and two adults. Which later fed, on separate occasions, seven American grandchildren and three great grandchildren on their summer vacations. Nothing but the produce and dairy has changed.


The only sink in the house of a stubborn but hardworking housewife named Apolonia has washed the same six plates and seven forks for fifty years in this spot. Apolonia, the name, is the saint called upon for those suffering from dental problems. My husband the dentist finds this information awesome.


It was in this kitchen that my Babcia fed her children such delicacies as the Polish/Lithuanian pizy, meat filled dumplings the size of grapefruits, smothered in pan fried onions. Meals of which I only can dream of manipulating myself with her guidance.


My mother holding Fifi with her father behind her,
Lola and Jay standing before me as I embrace my Babcia,
and my husband smiling proudly.


This is for us, my family. This is for you, my children. This is for you, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. This is for you.

This is why I, needed to become the author of my life and make this trip happen. THIS was so important to me. I needed for you, my children, to understand and fall in love with family to help build our own foundation inorder to understand our future.

This is for you.

92classy comments:

Kate said...

I am so touched by your generosity in sharing this history. Truly touched. How proud you must be...and how lucky your children to have THIS as their legacy.

Rock on OHMommy....rock on.......

Kate

Tena said...

you have a beautiful family! You are blessed. The shot of the garden was breath taking!

momof3crazykids-Val said...

You just abuot brought me to tears with your last few lines. I'm so glad you were able to make this trip. For you and your family this will make great memories that will last.

Mr Lady said...

OhMommy, that is just beautiful. I am so glad that you made that trip home.

justmiss said...

Wonderful, beautiful, and touching. Everything you are. I love the family photo, the women in your family have very strong genes. So gorgeous.

Jeni said...

Beautiful post, absolutely magnificent! Especially this being explained as your gift to your children and grandchildren and other generations perhaps beyond thinking about now. I can understand this completely because that is exactly why I started my blog -as a record for my grandchildren especially, to know a bit more about me, about their parents too and also, about our ancestry too. (I'm also into family tree research.) It's a bit of a record we can leave of what we liked, enjoyed, loved during our lifetime. Keep on with the path you've chosen there because without knowing one's history, how can you have any idea what makes you who you are? Or, in terms of legacy, who you (I) were!

Kellan said...

This was a beautiful post! I loved walking through the halls of your family's home and seeing and hearing about your memories and the memories stored in the fabulous house. This was a gift - for sure - for us and for your family! Thanks - Kellan

Kellan said...

BTW - you look just like your mother and she is beautiful too!

Elaine A. said...

OMG I am SO taking my kids to the Czech Republic as soon as possible. That is where MY people are from.

This post made me cry. Heritage is so important. I raise a kolache to you. ; )

Thank you SO much for the tour of 10 Rocky Lane...

Melissa said...

So your saying the trip was totally worth it. Believe me when I say to you...if I could have one more visit with my grandmother I would move hell and high water to get there.

I'm so glad that y'all had a good time and got to reconnect with family!

maggie said...

Bravo! Seriously. I love so much about this post. It's such an intimate look into who you are and into a place and people who shaped you. I can't quite put into words the feelings this stirred, but you captured the essence of family, legacy, with all of the past, present and future in the mix, and you tied it all up with a pretty bow. And pictures, too!

Flea said...

What a beautiful, moving post.

the MomBabe said...

Oh hon, it's straight out of a fairy tale! Your kids will cherish this in the years to come.

The Mom said...

Precious, every bit of it! I miss my grandparents even more today. You are truly blessed!

lattemommy said...

What a beautiful tribute to the importance of knowing your family, knowing where you came from, knowing the old ways. Your children are so lucky that you took them on this trip, showed them their roots, and got them that very precious picture of 4 generations together. Priceless.

Rachel said...

What a beautiful generational photo. And, what a beautiful tribute to your grandparents. Thank you for sharing this little bit from your journey.

LaskiGal said...

Thank you for sharing this with us.

You're children will thank you one day as well (if they haven't already).

"magical princess garden"--something every little girl dreams of.

What memories . . .

Kathryn said...

Thank you so much for sharing something so personal. This was an absolutely beautiful post!

Jill said...

What a fantastic trip. The family photo would have sealed the deal for me!

Amazing.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

What a wonderful and amazing piece of history you shared with us!

You and your family truly had the trip of a lifetime....I can see whay you so wanted to go back.

That garden is spectacular....

Keep the pictures coming....you said you had 800...right!!!

Lisa

crunchiemummy said...

That was just beautiful. Thanks!

Ellyn said...

What a beautiful post. You are so blessed to have such a great family. I love the story you told through the house.

jarrard said...

What a wonderful tribute! It had shadows of my grandmother in law with the rosary and "peeking through the curtains" so I have shared this with my husband and his family so they can enjoy your walk down memory lane as well.

Tracey said...

What a wonderful journey...your grandparents are very proud of you! You are blessed.

Kaci said...

That was amazing thanks so much for sharing! I loved sneaking a peak in your family~

Mishelle Lane said...

When I read that last line, OHm, I cried.

Fala mnogu!

the dragonfly said...

Incredible. Thank you so much for sharing.

(And that garden...it truly does look like a magical place of fairies)

:)

Lisa said...

That made me want to cry - just perfectly beautiful & classy!

I want to go & photograph my history for my children, grandchildren, etc. now. Thanks for the motivation!

Irene said...

Oh what a wonderful and interesting post!!

My ancestors' stomping ground is probably very close to yours! I am 100% Russian heritage (yes, my mom is known by my kids as "baba").

My mom's family resided in Lithuania (many (most) still do) and my dad's family resided in Lithuania and Poland (we think all have left or since passed). All of my grandparents were born and raised in these countries. My parents were born here.

My parents have traveled back to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland quite a few times. I have yet to make the trek. My families' residences in Lithuania are extremely small and sparse. And, sadly, I don't speak any Russian (and they don't speak any English). However, you are making me think that someday, I really should visit my ancestor's homeland.

DYSFUNCTIONAL MOM said...

What a beautiful home. I could stay in that garden forever. You are so blessed to have all of those wonderful memories!

Crystal D said...

This is AWESOME I am so happy for you that you got this picture and this experience to go along with it. I loved the house tour. Isn't it amazing the differences in the things we think we can't live without and the things that others would never let change from their old ways. And they get along just fine!

Crystal D said...

Oh and that garden is just beautiful. I can just imagine them out there tending to it. Just lovely.

Rachel said...

I love you :-) K.
I also want that garden, it's gorgeous.
Thank you so much for sharing your family and their history with us.

I adore that picture of y'all, you are positively glowing. The love and strength and peace that this trip infused you with is very obvious.

Aimee said...

Wow! What a great post!! Thanks for sharing!

Jessica said...

What a lovely picture. Having lost my mother when I was only a teen...I cannot stress enough the importance of embracing thes opportunities to engrain your family into your children's lives. They will ALWAYS remember this trip. Even little Fifi as she will see pictures and recall them as if they were actual memory. Bravo for your bravery to make this adventure happen!

Smart A$$ Mom said...

What sweet pics! The picture of your family is beautiful. Your mom....wow! She is a stunner!

mommynotes said...

The pictures are gorgeous! I love the one with all the generations. What a beautiful post!

Immoral Matriarch said...

I'm coming with next time. I'm serious. And I want one of those Virgin Mary depictions.

Kel said...

That is incredible, such history, such family, such love. I think it's great that you have this to share with your children and future grandchildren - so many of us do not have the history or the family lineage to be able to share, you are very blessed!

Have a wonderful day!
~K

Tracey said...

Honey, I am so happy for you, that you guys made that trip. What a poignant description of their home and history. The timelessness is bittersweet, to me...

Indy said...

Just beautiful. You are so lucky to have your grandparents alive for Jay, Lola and Fifi to meet. I wish my kids could have met theirs. Both sets are gone. I talk about them but they can't really grasp who they were. I totally understand why you had to go Poland. I didn't realize your parents were going to be there until I saw your photos. That is just fantastic that they were there too. What a special trip.

Krystyn said...

How special a trip for all of you. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family with us. You are all so lucky.

LceeL said...

What a lovely family you have, and what a lovely thing you have done for your children and generations to come. Family is SO, SO important. That feeling of being connected, of having a place in the world. Well done, you.

My Semblance of Sanity said...

WOW!
What an amazing LEGACY for your children! What an amazing story you have to tell!

Precious.
Simply Precious!
Thank you for sharing!

haniaski said...

WOW!Beautiful post.
Made me cry.
Priceless.

Courtney said...

You are one classy woman! Thank you for sharing this with us.

Dziadek said...

Prawie cala rodzina.

Laura said...

What a lovely post - a tribute of family, love, pride and life. Thank you so very much for sharing.

Safe travels.

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

Lovely - just lovely! Your family is gorgeous!!
My grandmother is from Germany - and I visited her family a few years back - everything is so similiar. I was smiling through the entire post!

Amy said...

This was beautiful. Beautiful home, beautiful family, beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing with us.

Don Mills Diva said...

This is just beautiful. Your children are very lucky indeed...

Jo said...

Being Polish is the best, isn't it???? I am in my family's home when I am in your family's home.

piekne!

asia

renatamic said...

once again...crying! what a beautifully written post...your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will enjoy!!

Kash said...

Great way to document this not only for your children but mine as well! Just in case, you know.

Chelsea said...

This was such a great post, OHmommy. Way to go. This is kind of how I felt when I went to my grandmother's house a month ago. I hadn't been since I got married and I just wanted to remember forever what it was like.

ww said...

Wow! What a beautiful family so full of love and history. Your children will definitely treasure this. The garden is breathtaking and the dumplings look delicious! Thanks for sharing! Wendy

Kelly said...

That garden IS "magical". My favorite picture by far though is your family picture. Those are the memories that will last for generations.

Kalle said...

Thank you for inviting us into your life. What a great tour of the home to see that traditions are the ones we make. What a wonderful memory for your children.

April said...

And their memories will endure as yours have. What a great legacy to pass on!

Natalie Jane said...

I need to go visit my grandma....

Jolyn said...

Oh. Someone needs to print this into a scrapbook of sorts, with the story in captions, in both languages.
Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful story and a piece of American history. I hope that home is able to stay in your family for generations to come.

Valarie said...

This was so great. What an aamzing tour...both the photos and the words you describe it with!

Shannon said...

The pictures are amazing, I loved them all. I loved sharing all the history and reading about your family - how wonderful you were all able to make this amazing journey together!

Mandy said...

This is hands down one of the most beautiful posts I have read.

Not only the pictures but the touching story of your family history to go with them.

Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Motherhood for Dummies said...

what a beautiful family. Youa re so lucky

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

Simply beautiful.

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

And your last lines sum it all up. It is worth EVERYTHING :)

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Such gorgeous icons. It must be wonderful to be able to get the Russian ones so easily. Loved the Sacred Heart picture.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Cool stuff, OHMommy. This is timeless. Your kids will appreciate it someday and will fill their kids with these same values.

On another note, don't European standards make our American standards just ridiculous?

KEEP BELIEVING

EatPlayLove said...

what a remarkable journey. Beautiful pictures.

Eve Grey said...

That was totally heartwarming.

The White House said...

What a beautiful tour of a home dear to your heart. The graden is gorgeous, but every room has a different story- and that is even more beautiful. My family is from Lithuania, so it kind of felt like home, in a sense!

The Daily Stroll said...

Great post. Thanks for sharing! In the end it's all about family, nothing else matters. Glad you were able to take this trip with your husband and children!

3 Peanuts said...

Oh...I have tears in my eyes. The beauty of this post is beyond words. You will cherish it and your children will cherish it. you have a beautiful heart. There is NOTHING more important than family.

carrie said...

I can't even describe how I feel after reading this post . . . totally speechless.

I never knew Lithuania and Poland were so close in culture . . . and I'm a full 1/4th Lithuanian. My grandmother's (who is full) parents immigrated here and ran a dairy/farm until they were too old to do it any more and we've been schooled well in those histories. . . but this, being able to go back to where it all began and let your children experience living and seeing and doing the same things you all did is such a blessing, such a gift.

I am so glad you did it.

You're family is so lucky and (obviously) wealthy in love, like you said.

Thanks for taking us along.

christicave said...

As I sit "thumbing" through blogs this evening, I cried when I came to yours!

It took my breath away!

Thank you for sharing.

Your family is blessed!

Christi in Mississippi

Keri said...

A gigantic thank you ! Thank you for letting me in on such a warm and loving family history.
You only truely know where you can go by knowing where you came from.

Belle said...

Absolutely amazing...AMAZING!

Karen said...

Wonderful story! The photo of your family is so beautiful, I'm sure it will be cherished for years to come. Thank you for sharing.

Karen

Eloise said...

What a treat to have an insider's tour of a Polish home! Thanks so much for sharing your pictures and your heritage with us.

chris said...

Thanks for sharing that with us. I'm glad you had such a good time on your trip.

beth said...

What a beautiful tribute to family. And that family photo is priceless!

CC said...

What an awesome tour and wonderful album for your children and generations to come.

Kim said...

Beautiful. So beautiful and like so many others have said you are so blessed.. Thank you for sharing this.. it was a beautiful photo story..

Love it..
LOVE IT.
Joggingincircles

Blessings From Above said...

Wow. Just WOW!

Someday, your children will treasure this post with all their heart. What an amazing heritage for which they have to build their future.

I'm curious. Have your grandparents ever been to the states? It seems like it would be such a cultural shock.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

what a wonderful story. I know that you and your children will cherish this memory and this photo forever.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

That garden is amazing. What love shines through those pictures.

That kitchen- awesome. I understand kitchens like that. Growing up in my childhood home, eight people shared one bathroom.

BusyDad said...

WOW what a great thing to be able to take your kids to the house you grew up in!! And I'm sure being there recharged those fond childhood memories. AND I REALLY WANT SOME OF THOSE GRAPEFRUIT SIZED DUMPLINGS!!!

Rachel said...

Oh my gosh - what a wonderful post! I feel so honored to have read this history of your family. Your children are so lucky to have this history to share with their children.

Thank you,
Rachel

Tiffany said...

I am sinking in all of your beautiful journey and loving the glimpse into your family (in the larger world sense)!

Good for you that you are "doing it". As I, too, am becoming the author of my life, you are an inspiration to me to keep putting one foot in front of the other right towards my dreams!

Kelley said...

This post made me cry. Wonderful memories you have made for your children, with a beautiful story interwoven with meaningful pictures.

I wish I did the same.

Karen MEG said...

All beautiful photos, lovely history and story... but my favourite of all was the last shot.

That's what it's all about, isn't it? Family.

And thank you SO much for sharing yours with us. Just beautiful, sweetie.

 

Blog Designed by: NW Designs

Original Header and Concept by: Judith Shakes