On Sunday morning, I called my 85 year old grandmother to wish her a happy Mother’s day.
“Hello?” She answered sounding surprised.
“Is this my beautiful Grandmother?”
“Ahhh, how are you my dear?”
I was surprised she didn’t ask me as she always does which one of her grandchildren she was talking to.
“Grams, how did you know it was me?”
“No one else would call me beautiful,” she replied chuckling.
“Well you are beautiful Grams; I’m talking wrinkles and all.”
This really made her laugh. We chatted for the next half hour. She told me how excited she was to go to lunch with my Aunt and cousin. She told me she was thrilled to receive my package in the mail and was so proud of my writing. It doesn’t matter how old I get, when Grams tells me she’s proud, my insides radiate with joy at her approval. When I hung up the phone I thought about how special of a lady-a true Goddesses- my grandmother truly really is, and how fortunate I am to still have her in my life.
In celebration of mothers, grandmothers and heart mothers (a term I heard used when your heart adopts a child) everywhere, I am sharing with you parts of a paper/interview I did with my Grandmother two years ago. The interview was a writing assignment for a class where I was asked to capture the oral history of someone significantly older than me. This series entitled My Goddess Grandmother will have 5 parts and will run consecutively for the next couple of days. I realized through doing this assignment how important it is to capture these stories from our elders before they are no longer around to tell them. Below is an introduction to my paper that I wrote, the middle sections are direct quotes from my grandmother, extracts from two of our interviews.
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This is the brief profile of Gizella Polzer, better known as Stella Taus, who I get to call Grams. The problem with sharing her story here in print is that the Reader cannot hear the inflection of her voice as she trills her “r’s” and moves in and out of character speaking voices. Or see the animation of her face as it recaptures a moments from the past, eyebrows acting like the punctuation marks of a sentence. When I tell Grams she is one of the best story tellers I know, she laughs and refuses to accept the compliment. To her telling stories and listening to other people is a part of living, nothing to be complimented.
Grams’ parents came from the old country where tales were meant to be shared aloud; in kitchens while women prepared dinner, around fire hearths while eyes flickered between narrator and dancing flames, and later traded down the factory line while women repeated tedious tasks. Gram’s life is as telling as her wrinkled face; sometimes when I watch her tell stories I find my eyes circling round and round getting lost in the rare symmetry of Grams’ lines. Each crevice seems deliberate, a mark of a lesson learned or a victory captured; lines of a warrior but the smile of a young bride. Hers is a rare beauty, strong high cheekbones and a full pursed mouth that speaks honest, artful words of a lady. It is best Reader if you hear her tale in her words. Below is her story in fragments divided into sections that concentrate on her early live from 1928-1948, all delivered verbatim.
Sharing is Caring,
A Warrior Princess