Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I lived with my Oma until I was 6 years old. Even as a little girl my grandmother would send me to the butcher with a note and a Deutsch mark clasped in my hand to pay for the purchases. We lived in a tiny, duplex apartment, with no hot running water. We had a wood stove for heating. Oma's house didn't have shutters, so in freezing weather the window panes would freeze over, on the inside! Oma would put a hot brick under the featherbeds to heat the bed at night. She tended a large garden and kept a large bin of potatoes and root vegetables and apples down in her cellar. The woodshed was stocked for the winter with wood that my uncle chopped. She washed her clothes in a big galvinized washtub, which also served as a tub for bathing. Once a week the tub would be dragged upstairs and the water heated for our baths.
The baker would come around and bring fresh farmer's (bauern brot) bread, still hot from the oven and dusted with flour. That bread, smeared with real butter and homemade jam was the best there was!
Oma had a hard life. She lived through two wars and she and her children were refugees after the second war, forced to leave their farm and everything behind in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia. My grandfather died right after the war, leaving her a widow with nine children.
Here's a picture taken of me right before coming to the USA. I didn't speak a word of English, but picked it up quickly.