Memories From The Distant Past
As I continue my search for relatives from the distant past, I am curious as to where they lived, what were their values and traditions. Did they have substantial successes or failures? History repeats, be it déjà vu or memory cells passed along the gene pool from centuries ago, I sure would like to connect the dots! In my youth there was no need to ask questions, elders rarely discussed events from their past. Such inquiries were quickly hushed away. As one grows older, one becomes wiser with much more time for reflection, and time to complete the missing pieces of their life puzzle. Surprisingly, I recall events from the past, but have difficulty remembering what I served for dinner yesterday!
One of my favorite memories as a child was attending church with family, relatives and especially with my little cousins. I was fascinated by the beautiful carved rosettes, ivy, compositions of triangles intertwined with twigs on the church bench molding. They were breathtakingly hand-carved by skilled German, Russian and Slavic immigrants. Surely there had to be a connection to my appreciation somewhere in my background. There we sat, my little cousins and I, as our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles stood to sing the old English church hymns. The organ played resounding blasts in lower keyed notes that vibrated from the soles of your shoes demanding immediate reverence in the house of God. Every so often there would be looks of furrowed brows and intense frowns peering over lace collared shoulders directed toward us children. We would behave until a glance, one little glance from one cousin to another pushed the envelope just a tad too far resulting in a stern hand on the shoulder and a quick exit to the church vestibule.
This past Sunday as I sat in church, my thoughts drifted. I listened to the familiar echos of children's shoes scuffling on wooden pews. I took in the sights of sunlit stained glass windows with the Saints reflecting Bible stories from centuries ago. I inhaled the fragrance of incense and lilies from Easter as the sun's rays broke throughout the altar canopy. These days the hard oak pews have become a little more challenging to sit upon not for lack of childlike behavior, but one of arthritic inconvenience. I found myself wondering if those before me sat as I do now, pondering these very same thoughts. I continued to get lost in the beautiful detailed embroidery on the robes of the good priests. Such is my fondness for old English fashion, unique materials and heavenly detail in every stitch. Once again the organ plays a Celtic melody of grace. I recognize the sound from deep within my being not knowing exactly why.
Easter baskets lined the altar steps filled with treasures that are more than just nourishment, rather foods of life celebrations. The aroma of cabbage, beets and cucumber salads, Pascha breads, paprikash, kielbasi, sausages and kraut. Breathtaking memories of foods and traditions from unknown lands.
I returned home from church to find a long awaited delivery detailing my ancestry. I discover my ancestors are from the lands of Eastern Europe, Great Britain - and Ireland. Joy unspeakable. I begin to connect the dots!
Here's to the memories from the ancients of old and here's to the memories yet to be ~ wonderful memories for ages to come.
Na zdravi! Budem zdorovi! Egészségedre! Saluti! 司veli! Sláinte Cheers ~ Fancy that!
Susan Banks - Yurik
I am a Parma resident. Attended Pleasant Valley Jr. High, Valley Forge Senior High, Parma Senior High, and Tri-C. I am retired; and have been published in Guideposts, Mysterious Ways and Angels On Earth. I also create Iconographic style drawings. My son was a Navy Nuk, my daughter was Miss Parma, and runner up to Miss Ohio. Three generations of our family attended Thoreau Park Elementary School, Schaaf Jr. High School and Parma High School. I love living in Parma, and I especially enjoy the city's unique European ethnicity.