Oh, I loved running around with my cousins. We ran up and down the stairs, played hide and seek in the nooks and crannies of my grandparents' houses, went on tours of the garage and living room and bathrooms... But for some reason, my fondest memories are those times that I just sat and watched the kitchen at work.
Whether it was my grandfather sitting and reading the morning newspaper with his glasses on and his cup of coffee in hand, my aproned grandmother cooking a meal for our extended family, or my smiling aunts and great-aunts washing the dishes together while reminiscing in laughter about their childhood escapades, the memories of those kitchens from my child's point of view are the ones that stick with me the most.
I was usually all ears, sitting there quietly, although I answered questions politely, of course. (Maybe not so politely when my grandfather's offer of coffee to me - under age 10 - caused me to blurt out an emphatic, "No!") Though I very much enjoyed sitting and listening and taking in the sights and sounds of the kitchen, I now remember little about what was said during my moments of observation. A few phrases like, "Nothing is sacred anymore!" come to mind. A few memorable stories of aunts' childhood fiascos remain in my memory. But generally speaking, most of the talk of the kitchen probably went over my head.
How I would enjoy going back to those times and sitting again at those tables with the ears of a child and the understanding that I have now as an adult. What stories I could share, if only I could do so.
To R.S.V.P. to Jasia's invitation via the 41st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy to "take four ancestors to dinner", here is my dream:
- To once again travel back in time to be that little girl at the kitchen (and dining room) tables of my grandparents (with all the aunts and uncles and cousins there, and a few great-grandparents, too).
- To be able to bring not only the understanding I've gained with age, but the questions that I have now about their lives and their stories.
- To let them all know how much their personalities, lives and love have influenced me in my own life.