Monday, January 11, 2010

Madeleine's Take on Tough Times

The other night I had the privilege of hearing Joe's aunt, the oldest of eight children, six who are still living (two died as babies) recount some fascinating stories from her childhood. This aunt was born in Europe to Ukrainian parents and was about four or five-years-old when her parents brought her to America. They spent some time in New York and eventually she and her two younger brothers and her parents made it to Milwaukee.

Shortly after they arrived in Milwaukee the younger of those two brothers died. He was an infant. She described renting a small house with four other families at this time. She remembered her parents not speaking English. She remembered her baby brother being taken to the hospital and she remembered being left in that house all by herself, not knowing where her parents and baby brother were.

I've heard this story before, but from Joe's grandmother. Hearing her describe her confusion, her infant son being taken away in an ambulance and not being able to understand where he was being taken, let alone trying to understand the doctors once she finally figured it out, are heart wrenchingly interesting.

So, as Joe's aunt described these events Madeleine sat and listened. She was riveted and as the tale was recounted Madeleine's eyes grew wider and wider. When the story finally concluded Madeleine enthusiastically remarked, "Wow, that sounds so exciting! My life is so dull!"

And Joe's response?

"You're welcome."


Kimmber said...

A dull life is a blessing.

I love hearing stories of the past like that. That would be a blog to read!

Alexis Jacobs said...

Ahhh the innocence of a child.

Cate said...

Kimmber-- I agree! I think someone needs to write all of Joe's grandma's stories down. All her stories about being in Europe during WWII, coming to America, etc., etc.; they'll all so interesting!

I know, Alexis. To her it's a glamourous fiction novel.