We had another visit today from my wonderful Grandma. She is an exceptional woman, who had a difficult life with many challenges and loses. But even during the hardest times she never despaired. She was always active.
My Grandmother has learned her needlework very early. She tells me that when she was six, an aunt came for a visit, to entertain my Grandmother she cut a little stick from the tree and with a shard of glass made a crochet hook. Since then there was hardly a day when my Grandmother did not crochet.
At that time children were expected to do “their bit”. Her family had a store. One might call it a “bridal salon” in a tiny Ukrainian village. Grandmother tells that a bride could get everything there from underwear to outwear. Linens, fancy and everyday clothes, pots and pans. Talk about a “one stop shopping”. All of the clothes was made by the women in her family. The children embroidered and beaded fancy garments. Grandma says that by the time she was six her work was good enough to sell. Those needlework skills and especially crochet later played a huge role in the survivor of her family.
Grandmother got married very early and by the time of the WWII she was nineteen, had a nursing baby and a husband in the army. With her parents and two younger brothers they ended up in Kazachstan in the middle of nowhere. Since they all lived in Kiev, one of the first cities to get hit during the war, they were very lucky to have just the clothes on their backs. There was no organized help for them, they were given an old house, that was uninhabited for three years. But since there was no food to be had and they knew nothing about gardening things looked very grim. The winter was coming…
My Grandmother had two treasures. A pair of fancy sandals with high heels and a light raincoat, that was her wedding present from my Grandfather.
My Grandmother’s Father told her that if the family will survive – they have to buy potatoes and plant them. Money had almost no value, so He asked if my Grandmother would sell her sandals and her raincoat. To get to the market she had to walk ten kilometers. There she sold her treasures and walked ten kilometers back dragging behind her prize – a whole bag of potatoes!..