Before I was born…and then some….

Grandma and Grandpa’s house  Copyright 2012

This is the house of my grandparents, immigrants from Slovakia, where I lived from the age of 6 months until I turned 10 years old.  The photo was probably taken in the late 1930s by my father, who always seemed to have one camera or another.  He let me take my first photos at age 4 and a half (perhaps, he helped then to make me what I am?).  The woman on the back porch is my grandmother, my father’s mother Martha, to whom I owe much of my being.  I was her first granddaughter…and she loved me until and beyond her passing in 1973.

The gate in the foreground is open to my grandpa Benedikt’s garden, where I spent much time with him, learning how to plant and grow vegetables.

My Grandpa and me, 1946  Copyright 2012

Our family lived upstairs from my grandparents, who were so proud their oldest son was a Milwaukee police officer.  The upper porch collapsed in the early 1950s (it made the newspapers!); Mother and Dad plunged to the ground as she was showing him a rocker she had just refinished.  Mother’s head was saved by a bale of newspapers my grandfather saved to sell to the one we called ‘the junkman’.  The rocker obviously did not survive–I have no memory of it.  Thankfully, they both did.  She passed in 1982, at almost 63, from the ravages of ALS;  he, in 1994, at 79 and a half, from the too many strokes and multi-infarct dementia caused by a seizure in 1989.

Needless to say, as my 66th birthday nears, I miss them all…yet, they are somehow still with me.



Who have gone before me

Do not call me to them.



They insist I keep plodding


Into experiences untried,



As I balk

And grumble negatives,


Encourage at every moment.

Even in my hours of sleep.


At times, the voices.

Their voices,

Are near, at my side,

Voices wrapped

Around my shoulder

Guiding my uncertain step.

Copyright 2004

5 responses to “Before I was born…and then some….

  1. I was struck by your classic photos here;
    and the great poem about loved ones
    in the great beyond.

    I love old photographs, especially those in sepia (and black & white too).
    I find them handy links to the past… to relatives and friends, now gone.
    My mother gave me some antique family photos, hence, my penchant
    for classic shots is inherent upon me.

    And thanks too for following my blog.
    I’m glad I came upon yours, and now I follow.

  2. Muchas gracias!

    You are much appreciated.
    In some ways, we are both bound by common sentiments;
    and our link to the past makes us look forward to the future
    and anticipate everything Life has to offer.

    Your photography is unique; and you are very expressive in poetry.

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