Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal

Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years

Thursday, May 11, 2006

An Appealing Subject

Somebody's Best Banana Bread

6 large, over ripe bananas, mashed
4 eggs, well beaten
1 stick butter
1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lime or lemon juice
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts
2-3 Tbsp grated lemon or lime peel
Beat bananas, add eggs and set aside. Cream margarine and oil with sugar until fluffy. Add banana mixture and juice; blend well. Add flour, soda and salt; stir until smooth. Fold in nuts and peel. Pour into 2 well greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
*This recipe turns out best if you take bread out of the oven slightly under-baked.

Last night I started a blog about how much I appreciate my family's ability to laugh no matter how bad things seem. I'd never had that outlook on life before. I usually expected the worst and was not surprised if and more probably, when it happened. Then I could think about it---a lot. Why? How? If only!!

This family always expects the best. Some folks would certainly say they often don't get it but around here the thinking is "you're pretty much where you're supposed to be---now what are you going to make of it?"

As an example: I simply can't turn down a bargain. It's almost pathological and I'm sure could be explained psychologically by stuff in my past. However, once in awhile I'll do something that makes the kids throw up their hands. The pile of rotting bananas in the previous post was pretty reprsentative.

I had purchased the whole bag for a dollar. They looked great at the time and I went home pleased-as-punch with my bargain. Never mind we already had several other bananas in the fruit bowl at home. A horrified Carole found the new bag the next day and dumped the contents on the counter. I simply couldn't believe my eyes! What had happened to all that ripe and lovely fruit?

Carole grabbed the camera. (This was not the first time this kind of thing had happened.)

"Ma. This is going into the mug-shot file of 'Mom's Greatest Bargains.' Otherwise you won't believe it the next time." Then we started to laugh. We both knew it will happen again so we made the best of it. We baked banana bread.

Like my life, something lovely and delicious out of something long past its prime.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Big Mystery!

Hello Friends and Neighbors.

I was working on a post for tomorrow when I came across the photo you see here. Carole took it not long ago to document what she calls one of my little obsessions. She says the picture speaks for itself. What do you think?

Later today I'll post something that will make her soooo wrong!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

From Minsk to Manhattan

My mother-in-law's name was Sarah. I loved her very much. This is the first time I've set down my thoughts about her and it's a tribute that's way overdue.

Sarah grew up poor, like almost everbody else, in the Jewish ghettos of Eastern Europe. I'm not entirely sure what country she was actually born in as the borders moved constantly. I believe she met (quite possibly on her wedding day) her husband Morris in what is now Poland. Shortly after they married my father-in-law had the opportunity to come to America---alone.

He left his wife not realizing she was pregnant. Jack's father Ben was born in 1913--seven months after his father's departure. The plan had been to bring Sarah to the US as soon as possible. However, WWI and the Russian Revolution intervened. Sarah and her young son were forced to flee into the Jewish Pale in Russia where they lived with her blind grandparents.

Because the revolution heightened the almost ominpresent danger of pogroms for the Jews, Sarah's family kept a Gypsy lodger in the tiny house. He didn't pay rent but he would answer the door and insist "No Jews live here."

It was not always an effective ploy. Sarah and Ben spent over 13 years escaping into the woods, hiding in the cellars and of course, starving. Sarah would jump aboard a moving train to forage for garbage in the city. Ben said he recalls as a young boy hearing his aunt being raped in the same room as he was hiding. He only spoke of his years in Russia once that I recall---and no wonder.

Finally, in 1926 my father-in-law was able to bring Sarah and their son to Cincinnati where like his fathers before him, he was a shoemaker. It was not a happy reunion and it proved to become an toxic and twisted relationship between father and son. In all probability Morris questioned Ben's paternity and in any case literally refused to speak a word to his embarassing "greenhorn" son. Ben never recovered from his devastating reception.

Being a dutiful immigrant wife Sarah cared for her husband until he died. Ben and I lived with them after he was discharged from the army after WWII. To this day I don't know how it was she never became twisted by the abuse. Despite the hideous twisting of arthritis she was unfailingly gentle, good-humored and full of simple faith. Sarah was the light in my life---a loving mother to me in a way my own mother had never been.

The early years of my marriage were happy only because of her---and then Jack. Sarah and I shared a love for Jack that bound us even closer. When she died, the light went out for me in that house. I think it did for Jack too.

I still think of and talk about Sarah almost daily. So many things remind me of how much I loved and learned from her. And that brings me to my nurturing relationship with my own precious daughter-in-law Carole and my granddaughter, the young NYC Sarah whose picture is at the top of this post. Like her namesake, young Sarah meets challenges unflinchingly and with great resolve.

What greater legacy could there be for this new Sarah---or for me?

Monday, May 08, 2006

An Attitude of Gratitude from Auntie Tobi

THANK YOU ALL...from the very bottom of my mending heart. I never dreamed such an outpouring of love could reach someone from so many people and places. Lucy is my "other mother" and I'm deeply thankful for her being in my life. I hope to read all your blogs so I can get to know you better. Lulu and I truly are on the mend---and all the faster with your loving wishes.