Saturday, February 10, 2007

Kaernten Omi!

I've been meaning to tell you about my grandmother for some time now, but I never thought it was the right time for it. Today, my mom called to tell me, that my grandmother is in the hospital, has been since Tuesday! Well, the smoke signals took a little longer to get here, over the big pond, I guess.

My grand mother, Aloisia (she was never happy with her name) was the first of 17 children! (no, that's not a mistake). Funny thing is, I've been thinking of her a lot lately, probably because I've read a story about his grandfather on Dave's blog. This got me thinking of my grandfather, and that led to my grandmother and so on. I even ended up thinking about a tenant, my grandparents had, a really long time ago. I was a little girl, like in the black and white picture below (it's a picture of a picture). This tenant was an old man, pretty much, as you would think Santa Claus looked like, but at the time, I have never heard of Santa Claus, since we had the Nikolaus and at Christmas time there was the Christkind, which was so kind to bring us all the lovely presents!

Anyway, this old man had a room in my grandparents house, and whenever I stayed with them, which was as much as possible, if I could help it, we kids where reminded to be quite, at least passing the floor, where his room was. I think his name was Herr Reichl. Boy, what the mind can come up with sometimes. I remember being in his room several times, for a short period of time, just doing an errand (bringing coals or fresh towels or something like that). I was a little afraid of him, but that couldn't have been that bad, because I also remember, standing on his feet, and we were dancing in the hallway, to some old music he's put on. We all had a good laugh, and even though I remembered being quiet when passing his door; I think I didn't mind him too much.

Back to my grandmother. She was a farmer's wife. I do not know how she could have managed everything she did. Of course my memories of her at that time, and all what was going on, was that of a child. You don't know what's really going on around you, most of the time as a child. Anyway, they had livestock of course, fields, a big house, stables and everything you need to make a living as a farmer. My grandmother took care of the pigs, the chickens, the house, she had also three men to take care of, her husband and two sons. My mother did not life there anymore. My grandmother had a wood stove in the kitchen, as well as a gas stove, but we used the wood stove most of the time. She also had tourists throughout summer and sometimes in winter too. She baked her own bread, mended clothing, and if it was slaughter time (in winter), she made the most delicious sausages and double smoked bacon and so on.
As a child I ate cooked pigs tail!, because everybody said it was yucky and it made the grown ups laugh, when I chewed into that thing! (shudder)

What I want to say here is, how could she do all that? I don't know how much help she had, but I was right there beside her, "helping" whenever I could. I loved to be with her and she taught me so much. I was paying attention with whatever she did. I wanted to know how it worked, and I guess she liked my companionship as well. I always thought I was her favorite (being the middle child of three, I really needed to think that). Since it was almost like playing for me, I loved to get those beautiful potatoes out of the black soil. I laughed when I hacked one in two pieces and threw them in a bucket. I also liked chopping wood, which I did, when I was older. My grandfather showed me some tricks, yeah, you can do it the hard way, or the easy way, and after that, I chopped wood for fun.

As I got older I spent all my school breaks with her, I liked to be there as much as possible. We had fun, and what is unbelievable to me, we had some free time every day to take a break and sit down to coffee and cake every afternoon! We would sit in the living room, with windows overlooking the street which led to the village, so we could and would see who came and went, and she knew them all. She told me stories about them and it was very entertaining for me. Sometimes a window would be open, and we would call out to the person passing by. They said a happy Hallo, and exchanged a few words with my grandmother, and went on their way.
During hot season, we would sit in the garden, in the shade, and she would mend some cloth, sunbathing at the same time. I've got a great shot of her, but I know she would rather the earth opens underneath her, to swallow her, than to see this particular picture of hers on my blog! ;o)
We called her Kaernten Omi, because that's were she lived (and still is living), and we had another grandmother, so we would not confuse who we were talking about.
By now, you probably ask yourself, why in gods name, am I telling you all this? Well, there's some knitting content in here pretty soon. It's just so overwhelming thinking of this time in my life, before I became an adult myself. The following picture was in the local newspaper at the time, because we were five generations in one picture. My great grandmother Josephine, my grandmother Aloisia, my mother Erika, myself and my baby girl Hannah.
I was lucky to have known my great grandmother as well. I helped my grandmother take care of her for a short while. She's the one with the 17 children! Unbelievable! And there where no twins, and all survived!

five generations

This is me with my grandparents and dog Waldi, with a snowman my dad made.

This is my grandmother today. This picture was taken this past January. She's knitting socks! At the end of last year I asked her, how many pairs she made. She could not remember, but said, that from July to the end of November she made 19 pairs. She's 85 years old and still knitting! I want to be able to do that as well.

She sent me this pair of socks and I sent her some sock yarn, so she'll not run out of yarn any time soon. ;o)

She might not be knitting right now, but I'm sure she likes to be taken care of in the hospital. She's getting mud-packs for her bad leg. Well, I did talk to her today, because when my mom called, she said, that whenever my Omi heard my voice, she's feeling better right away. No that's healing power! (I'm sure the doctors and the mud packs will help a little too) ;o)

So I called. We both were happy about it, there were some tears involved as well, because she said, of all people, I had to move away so far.... indeed.

Here's the baby girl Hannah, knitting socks now.

One other funny thing is, Hannah wants to learn cooking and baking, and we have a "Kaerntner Reindling" in the oven. Tomorrow we'll bake some sourdough bread. My grandma was very pleased as I told her. ;o)

While I was writing this post, the "Kaerntner Reindling" finished baking and here it is. It's a yeast dough, filled with sugar, cacao and cinnamon and the dough was brushed with melted butter. Kind of like the cinnamon rolls, or sticky buns, but much better! It's usually baked in a pan, but Hannah wanted it to look fancy so we used a "Gugelhupf" mould. ;o) It's still hot!

I know you don't need to see dog pictures right now, but I do. Biko's so happy outside. Today the sun is shining, and she's running like the wind, and chewing her tennis ball. Happy dog!


hakucho said...

I enjoyed your story. Such nice memories to have :) God bless your grandmother, may she be able to keep knitting for many many years to come!
I'm praying her leg will be better real soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh Monika, it's good to talk about a loved one when you are worried about them. Your Kaernten Omi sounds just like the grandmother we all would like to have and you sure told us some heartwarming stories about her - thank you so much for sharing!
Eine recht baldige Besserung wuensch ich Deiner lieben Karnten Omi !!!
Love and best wishes to both of you, Ingrid

Violiknit said...

What a beautiful story about your grandmother; I hope she gets well soon! It's wonderful how many generations of your family are knitting!

Debi said...

Thanks for sharing that lovely story and cool pics Monika! I love how knitting is in your family's genes, including your Hannah!

Hope your Omi is feeling better soon and back to knitting!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing about your grandmother. It really touched my heart. I love the photos. Bilko made me smile because she is so happy running in the snow.

Anonymous said...

I will always want to see dog pictures. Biko looks so happy! And snow white.

I enjoyed your story about your grandmother too! Wow 17 kids and all that work? I can't even fathom it. She sounds wonderful and you can tell how much you love her.

Five generations! That's fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I loved the little bit of family history - While reading your story, I was hoping that you shared these wonderful memories with your grandmother, so she knows how well you remember those times.
I have a 4 daughter generation picture....5 is amazing!

Knitted Zebra said...

I loved reading about your grandmother and seeing the pics. Love the dog pics too. Hugs from Sasha, Gabi and Samson.

Anonymous said...

A good post, full of warm feeling. Best to Omi

Sheila said...

That is a very beautiful tribute to your Grandmother. I love the 5 generations picture.

Kris B said...

Enjoyed hearing about your grandmother, what a special person she is in your life.

I enjoyed seeing the pictures of Biko to. The black and white pictures really show how much she blinds in with the snow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. She sounds like a phenominal woman. I adore the photo of you as a child with that magnificant snowman! Happy Dog pictures are the best!! Thanks for those, too.

Cecie said...

du hast sie noch? wie schön. ich hoffe, es geht ihr bald besser.
ich hab deinen post nicht zu ende gelesen heute, ich muss das später nachholen. heut muss ich erstmal mit meiner eigenen familie klarkommen...

schön, dass du solche erinnerungen hast. ich habe sie auch. ich habe viel zeit verbracht, aber im nachhinein war es doch zuwenig... aber das ist es wohl immer.

lg, silke

Dave said...

Sometimes it takes a lifetime of experiences and memories to realize how much you appreciate someone. I think that you have come to this point. I think you have shown that family is not only blood but also a makeup of experiences. :-)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely story of your Omi. I was not close to either of my grandmothers, but I saw my dad's mom more often than mom's. Mom was from Germany, and my Oma came to the states for visits but not often. I hope your Omi is feeling better soon and you get to see her. What a great snowman.