Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Plentiful Produce

It's that time of year again. The time when every visit to my parents' house ends with me bringing home surplus veggies from my dad's quarter acre garden. In the spring, it's Asparagus. Summer usually brings melons, sweet corn, and green beans. I'm not complaining. I love the farm fresh goodies. The only thing is, that you never quite know what you're going to get. My most recent trip resulted in new potatoes and quite possibly the prettiest head of cabbage I've ever seen. They looked so perfect I just had to take a picture.

Now, I have a small garden myself. Before I left town for my long weekend I picked all the fully grown cucumbers and zucchini I had to give to my dad. I thought it was a good trade. Besides there were a couple of little zucchs still left for me when I get back.

Then last night I went out to check on my little garden. This is what I found.

Actually, there were 8 in total. I gave one to the neighbor before I lugged these back to the house. Good thing too, I could barely manage the 7 in one trip. Each one was as long as my size 9 Chuck Taylor's or longer. Three of the zucchini combined weighed about 7 pounds. I'm currently making plans for zucchini bread and I see vegetarian lasagna in my future.

But wait, there's more! Did I mention the green beans? Those with Dad's potatoes and some ham.......YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

You gotta love Summer!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Creating your Yellow Springs Getaway Experience

October Getaway for Women

A Weekend of Art and Spa Options

On October 17th and 18th, women are invited to enjoy a “Getaway” adventure in the charmingly unique village of Yellow Springs. Come, enjoy a multi-dimensional experience that will delight, invigorate, nurture and soothe your spirit. Participants can choose programs in art-making, dance and drumming; tour artist’s studios; commune at a ‘literary tea;’ hike the nature preserve and relax with mini spa sessions. And, of course, stroll into the shops and dine on fine cuisine!

For further details and to register:

GetawaysforWomen.com ~ 937.767.1366

HYPERLINK "http://creativeexplorations.net" \o "blocked::http://creativeexplorations.net/" \t "_blank" CreativeExplorations.net ~ 937.750.4117

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tribute to Goldie

by my cousin Robin. I think hers may be better than mine.

This week, our family lost its most prized treasure. My great grandmother, Goldie Grody Stambach died on July 4th, 2009. Almost all of us realized this day would eventually come. However, in a way, I think all of us find it hard to believe she is no longer with us. As my cousin Crystal said, Grandma Goldie was a constant in the family. She was a regular attendee of parties and family get-togethers. Her birthday was like a holiday to all of us and we all took pride in celebrating with her or letting others know we had a family member who was over 100 years old.
I decided to write this note about her because many of us are announcing to our own circles of friends about her passing and the first thing we tell everyone is that she was 109 years old. However, it’s important to note not only did she have a long life, but she had a full life. This is a woman who raised 10 kids. Part of that time was as a single parent after her first husband died. Not only did she anchor the household, but she also worked at the Fairborn Post Office, when it was located in the building that is now the public library. In fact, in 1970, she was asked to retire because of her age. Had her supervisors known she would have been around 39 years after that time, I wonder if they would have forced her to retire so early.
That family of 10 kids has grown into an impressive legacy. Twenty-nine Baby Boomers proudly called Goldie “Grandma.” I tried to find out how many great grandchildren she had, but I haven’t been able to nail down an accurate count. My guess is the number is greater than 50. Despite the large number of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren, I don’t think any of us felt like a number or statistic in the family. She always made a point to wish me a happy birthday, whether it was by attending the party, or sending a card with a dollar in it. I always knew she was thinking of me. One of the last times Goldie got to go to an event other than a doctor’s appointment was when she attended our wedding in October 2005. One of my favorite pictures of the day is the one of me sitting beside her on the steps of the church smiling up at her in her wheelchair. Needless to say, it was an honor to have her there on that day. I knew her memory was starting to fail when someone told me they showed her the picture and she asked, “who is that old woman?” She wasn’t able to remember my name sometimes when I went to visit, but she knew me as “that girl who got married,” or “that girl who moved out west.”
I did a little research about changes that happened during her lifetime. William McKinley won the presidential election the year she was born. His running mate was Theodore Roosevelt. The Titanic sank 4 days after her 12th birthday. She was 20 when women got the right to vote. She lived through both World Wars, prohibition, the ratification of 12 constitutional amendments (including the enactment of the income tax) and saw 5 territories become U.S. States. I never asked her, but I’ll bet she had her own story about where she was the day Kennedy was shot. Speaking of presidents, she received a letter from President George H.W. Bush on her 90th birthday, but her greatest presidential encounter was when she received a kiss from the future President Bill Clinton at a campaign rally in Wilmington, Ohio in 1996. Yes, friends, she could say she had something in common with Monica Lewinsky.
Despite our recognition of these events as historic moments, they were just details in her day-to-day life. I always enjoyed asking her questions about what life was like when she was growing up. Her eyes would light up and her eyebrows would wiggle rapidly as she relived memories of living on the farm, tending to animals, riding the carriage to church. In 1997, a relative asked her, “Grandma, what do you think was the greatest moment of American history in your lifetime?” I don’t remember her exact words, but she had a simple, memorable response: “indoor plumbing.”
Goldie was a fitting name for her. Not only was she brilliant and precious, but she always looked polished and refined when she went out (and she had a noticeable passion for fine jewelry.) I started attending the Methodist Church in Fairborn around the time she could no longer attend regularly. As people discovered I was Goldie’s great-granddaughter, they eagerly told me stories about what an amazing woman she was. Most of them made a point to say how neat and ladylike she looked with her hat and gloves—two accessories a class-act like her would have never attended church without. Perhaps that’s where the women in my family get their affinity for jewelry and where I get my preferences to be all dolled up before I leave the house (as well as my contempt for cleaning the house.)
As every other member of the Grody family, I could go on forever about my memories of Grandma Goldie. I bet our family could write a book with a diverse collection of memories we have about her. I’ll always think of her as the lady who looked neat and dressy for church Sunday morning, but was up to her elbows in flour while baking pies later that afternoon. She was the little girl who fed chickens on the farm, and kept canaries as pets well into her 90s. She was the lady who caught attention everywhere she went, but handled her small town celebrity status with grace and poise. In her last days, she may have been a frail little woman in a nursing home, but I will remember her as the symbol of strength as she survived two husbands, all four of her younger siblings, all but two children-in-law, raised ten kids almost single-handedly, drove until e-checks on cars were enforced, and lived independently until the age of 102. We will all miss her, but I imagine now, she is free, catching up with all the loved ones who went on before her. Welcome home, Goldie!

Monday, July 6, 2009

End of an era.

Saturday as I was having coffee with some of my friends, I got a message from my mom simply saying, "Crystal. It's your mom. Give me a call when you get this message." I knew instantly that bad news was on its way. My suspicions were confirmed when my mother told me that my great grandmother has passed away.

Honestly, this news did not surprise me much. My great grandmother was 109. Yes, you read that right. 109! Goldie Grody Stambach, was born April 10th, 1900. Here is an article the newspaper did about her birthday this year.

I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to know my great grandmother, let alone share 34 years of my life with her. I'll admit that growing up, I wasn't extremely close to her. I'd see her at various holidays and large family reunions. I know everyone in my family has their own stories about Grandma. Here are the few things I remember about her.

  1. First and foremost, my great grandmother was the one thing in my life that remained unchanged. She was always the same. Even in her late 90's she was just as sharp and lively as she had always been.
  2. She loved jewelery.
  3. I would sometimes play the card game Skipbo with her and when she focused on her hand intently, her eyebrows would wiggle up and down. I know that sounds silly, but I'll never forget that about her. It was almost an involuntary movement, and I loved it.
I also remember that every time she came to our house she always wanted to see the horses. She seemed to always enjoy saying "hi" and giving the horse a pet. It didn't' occur to me until I was in my late teens that perhaps this gave her a sense of nostalgia. When she was a girl there were few cars if any. Everyone had horses. That led me to think of how much things changed just within her lifetime. She went from horse and buggies to seeing a man walk on the moon. Seriously, how does one process all of that?

Then today I received the following message:

I was doing a search on my great-grandmother Goldie passing away when I came across your c.heis website posting your great-grandmothers 109th birthday in April.

Yes, thanks to Facebook I met a cousin that lives halfway across the country that I didn't even know I had. I even got goosebumps. My new relative and I have exchanged a few more friendly emails, and with every response the same thought keeps going through my head. I bet Grandma would never believe this.

In Memorial

Goldie Grody Stambach (1900 - 2009)