Lavi is doing a project for school, for his fifth grade class. They are working on Artifacts and Heirlooms. Since we've been talking about family heirlooms, I've been telling the boys a lot about my Grandma Libby and Grandpa Bill, and my Great-grandmother Ethel. Lavi's been calling my mom on the phone asking her all kinds of questions about his Great-great grandmother, his Great-grandma and about my mom when she was a little girl. One of the family heirlooms that Lavi is highlighting is the Shabbat Candlesticks that my mother gave to me. They were my Great-grandmother's, she most likely brought them to America from Europe at the end of the 1800's. My Great-grandmother was very religious, she was an Orthodox Jew. She fled from pogroms and anti-Semitic Eastern Europe as a young woman, traveling across the Atlantic on a ship with one or two small children. My Grandma Libby was Ethel's youngest daughter, born when Ethel was 45 years old.
I've always loved learning about my Grandma Libby and when she was a little girl. It was a time I can't even imagine. She was born around 1917, she lived in Brooklyn, New York. When Grandma Libby was still alive and when I realized she was not going to be around forever, I started asking her about her life. I wish I had asked more, I wish she told me more. I do know that when she was little she loved to roller skate and she was really good at it. I know that she met my Grandpa Bill when she was very young because he was a friend of her big brother. My Aunt Betty, Grandma Libby's sister, dropped out of school to help the family earn money. She worked in the Tootsie Roll factory. I want to know so much more, but my Grandma passed away in 1997. I loved my Grandma Libby.
Because we've been talking about my grandparents, last night I brought out my Grandma Libby's photo album. My mom gave it to me after my Grandma passed away. I've looked at this album many times, but it was the first time Lavi, Mayim and I looked at it together. There are photographs of my mom and her brother as babies. My mom and my sister, Marisa, could be twins. There are photographs of my Grandma Libby as a little girl and as a young woman. She had amazingly curly hair, so much curlier than mine. There are photos of Grandma and Grandpa together, so young. Grandpa Bill was so handsome, so dapper. Eventually, towards the end of the album, the grandchildren start to appear. Not all of us, just the older ones. My cousins, Shawn and Wendy, and myself as well. Perhaps Grandma had another album that kept going chronologically. I'll have to ask my mom.
This photo is of my mother and I. This is the piano my mom got as a Sweet 16 birthday present. This same piano lives at my house now. It is also a family heirloom. My mom looks sleep deprived in this photo, poor mom. Babies are so mean, they never let their mamas sleep.