Wednesday, December 14, 2005

for Bubbe

It's been crazy around here. It's the end of the semester, and my husband's a professor, so that is always chaotic. Then, sadly, we lost my husband's grandma, Bubbe Shirley Marcus, z"l. She passed away last night. She was a strong, funny, feisty lady who made it through something like 11 years of running away from Nazis and from WWII. Her story is scary and long and heroic. When she finally came to the USA in 1950, with her husband and children, she was only just my age, in her early thirties. Her passing will leave a hole in our lives.

Of course, in the short term, it meant that my husband had to leave home at 3:30 in the morning to catch a 6 AM flight, because we live 70 miles from the airport, and in the end he didn't make it to the Northeast in time to get to the funeral anyway because of flight delays. Bubbe was the realist amongst us, though, she would say, "You can only do what you can do..." meaning, you always try your best, but sometimes life gets in the way.

It's strange, I find fiber oddly comforting at times like this. Bubbe was an amazing seamstress and could make a dress simply by looking at one in a shop window. She didn't need patterns. How is this related? My husband's family felt that Bubbe and I shared our excitement about fiber, even though we expressed it in different ways. I got some alpaca in the mail from mythic alpacas and it is some amazing stuff. I have a pound of black fiber from, get this, Prada,--with a name like that, it has to be the good stuff, ehh? A pound of fawn fiber from Odin and two pounds of white alpaca from a guy named Aussie Jack. This alpaca has an incredibly low micron count and is so fine it is like sticking your hands into a little bit of cloud fluff. I am in love. I also have no reason to spin it all right now, no commissions and piles of handspun in the corners of my office, but it seems enormously comforting so I may have to anyhow. I've been spinning some cotswold and silk, but it feels cold compared to that alpaca, it might just have to be put on hold.

Bubbe Shirley would always make sure to tell us, "We should only meet next on happy occasions," whenever we saw each other at family events, happy or sad. She loved seeing her family, but hated when sadness brought them together. She'd switch from English to Yiddish to Hebrew, depending on what languages you knew, she always wanted to confide something special in a language she thought maybe everyone around her wouldn't know; she also spoke Polish and Russian and probably German, although she never used those languages around me. I hope the rest of her family is celebrating their time together now, and remembering how lucky they were to have a Bubbe who fed you clear chicken broth with kreplach and pletzel and made everyone feel like a part of her family and her home. I feel lucky to have married into a family that had such a special Bubbe.


Blogger kimber said...

You sure have experienced the full circle of life this week. My thoughts and prayers to your family.

December 14, 2005 at 6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and your family, Joanne. Sure sounds like she was a wonderful lady and will be deeply missed by all who knew her. Spinning the alpaca while spending time remembering her seems like a perfect thing to do since you weren't able to attend the funeral and gather together with family.

December 15, 2005 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts. It's been such a crazy week that the alpaca is still sitting on the dining room table in its packaging! I just put my hands in it as I walk by...

December 16, 2005 at 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Lisa S said...

I agree with Kim. Perhaps the entrance of the newest member of the clan gave your husband's grandmother permission to get on to the party on the other side. I wish her a quick journey to the light and she is blessed to leave such a legacy, which is her greatest reward for a life well lived.

December 16, 2005 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger Melanie said...

My sympathies to you and your family Joanne. It sounds like your family was blessed to have a grandma like that.

December 16, 2005 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger vanessa said...

so sorry to hear of your loss. bubbe sounds like she had a full rich life.

December 17, 2005 at 6:57 AM  

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