Gramma and my niece, her great grandchild, Jayde (2002)
Joan Theresa Belinc Miles (1912-2005)
I haven't called home for months, although I've been meaning to. I've sent emails every now and then to the account of close family friends who have in turn relayed my updates to my mother. Today I received by email a reply bearing the sad news that my grandmother, at age 93, passed away on Sunday. This entry will be my way of saying goodbye.
You were a remarkable and adventurous woman, born in 1912 in the industrial city of Essen, Germany. You were one of many children. You possessed a photographic memory from which you were able to tell me countless stories that would become more fascinating and more mysterious as I grew.
Your family settled in West Virginia where your brothers became coal miners. It was a difficult and poor life in Appalachia. Your youngest sister, playing near an open compost fire burned and died at age two. As one of the oldest children, you largely raised your siblings until at age 30 had for all purposes given up on the chance of marriage. These were times of both change and chance. It was during WWII that you gave a small photograph to your younger brother to ease him in times of distress. And what many young brothers do with such valuable things, he loses it. Sandwiched between the barracks cots, it was discovered by a young sergeant who fell in love with the image of a then nameless woman. As a devout Catholic, you were preparing to enter the convent when you received an invitation to meet the sergeant, who after a determined search was able to associate the picture with your brother. You met and were married in El Paso, Texas. You had four children, two were twins. You had seven grandchildren. You had six greatgrandchildren.
You loved polka. As a child, together we would watch the Lawrence Welk Show and the Muppets with warm milk and pitizza (a german/slavic rolled bread of raisins, walnuts and cinammon). Sometimes I was an awful unbearable child, crying for hours just to annoy people, including you. It's strange the things people feel sorry about when remembering.
I am sorry that I won't be able to attend your funeral and share this time with the family. I do not have the ability to leave where I am at this time, but I know you understand. I promise to call Mom today. Grandpa will be fine too, I'm sure. You two were peas in a pod.
I think I'll stop here. I think I prefer now to remember privately. There are important people that without, living is more difficult. Ich liebe dich. Em rất yêu bà ngoại. I love you grandma.
Posted by on July 6, 2005 11:51 AM | Permalink