|Momma's Baby Book|
I couldn't even begin to count the number of times Momma and I went through the treasures in her hope chest. The chest held only special memories of her life and of course my fathers too. Oh my, how I loved touching her pretty things and listening to her stories. There were letters tied with ribbons, some filled with sadness and others with joy. Old pictures of family filled my head with questions that could not be answered. One small box held my baptism dress, bonnet and pink booties. The tiniest red rose with a white ribbon was perfectly dried and kept as a remembrance of that day. I wonder if she ever tired of telling me about the day I was born. Gosh, it seems like yesterday that I was that wide eyed little girl sitting on the floor with Momma. Isn't it wonderful that we can hit the rewind button in our heads to these precious memories and revisit them anytime we want to.
Momma was born in south central Nebraska in 1922 in an area primarily made up of German immigrants. There were a few Swed's in the mix for fun. Her father had emigrated from Germany in 1906. Her Mother was 1st generation American, whose parents had emigrated from an area known as Ostfriesland, Germany. Grandma's parents were farmers going back for generations, but Grandpa was a city boy who grew up in Hamburg. I wonder now how hard it had been for him to adapt to such a change.
She was the second born of six children and the oldest daughter. By the time her twin sisters were born in the thirties Momma was 12. Two years later another little sister arrived. Growing up in a big family on the farm meant everyone from the youngest to the oldest had to pitch in and help. Since Grandma was busy with cooking for her big family, and also helping out in the fields, meant Momma was in charge of taking care of the girls. She often referred to herself as their “second mother”, something she seemed to take great pride in. Every Saturday night she would curl the girls hair for church on Sunday. Remember this was before the day of curling irons, she would take candles and roll their hair around them and the girls would have to hold them until it was dry. When Momma would tell these stories there always seemed to be a little glint in her eyes. I think her love for them went beyond the love of sister to sister.
Going through Momma's hope chest after she died brought a lot of sweet memories back of the times we looked at them together. I thought I knew every little thing in it by heart, but when I found her Baby Book I was taken aback. I don't recall ever seeing it before, surely I would remember something so precious. The handwriting in the book was so familiar and I recognized it immediately as my Grandmas. As I went through the pages and read the things my grandma had written about her little girl I couldn't help but smile. Oh, how I wish I would have seen it when I could have shared it with her. But, you know something? Maybe it was a treasure meant to be found today – a small connection to the past. Something to warm a broken heart.........
To be continued.