I brought Pizzelles with me when I visited Dad in April. Pizzelles are an Italian waffle cookie, very delicate. These are called PIZZELLE DI NONNA and are anise flavored. Dad wanted his with Cool Whip, like a sandwich. You’ll make a mess, I said. No, I won’t, he said. Janet gave in and put a dollop on a cookie. He took the spoon and took another dollop. I shook my head. What a mess, I thought. He wiped off his face before I could capture the full mess, honest.
I just made Thanksgiving Dinner for PawPaw, Janet and Mikie. What fun! I actually haven’t cooked a Turkey for years, as Mark has been cooking the bird. Ours was a small turkey, a little over 14 pounds, and I had Mark’s instructions and some from the internet. I was ready to go. The goal was to have the Turkey in the oven by 10:30. It was in by 10:35. Dinner was to be at 2:00. Actual dinner was around 2:15. Getting all the last minute things together took a bit more time that I realized! The food was delicious! We had four pies for four people.
One of my every year responsibilities is to make the gravy. Guppy taught me how. I make the broth with the neck ones and giblet. I scrape up the drippings and add the broth. Now the tricky part. Guppy alway insisted the only way to thicken the gravy was to use an old glass Jif Peanut Butter jar, add flour, water and shake. She told me the shape of the bottom was the best for mixing the flour and water without lumps. For a number of years I have followed her example, using the jar she gave me.
Unfortunately, this past year, my jar fell onto my kitchen floor and broke. I can’t find another jar with the same shape. Could I possibly make gravy without the Jif jar? Today I used a mason jar. It worked! Guppy may not believe it, but there is a substitute for the Jif Peanut Butter jar!
We continued to look for ways to help Mom/Guppy stay connected with us during her time with Alzheimers. One suggestion was to create family place mats that she could use every day, that would remind her of children, grandchildren and those who couldn’t visit her regularly. Different families did different things, and They are still at the house, but I don’t yet have photos of them. I do have a photo of the one I made, using Shutterfly, to print photos onto a place mat like surface.
I remember seeing her often touch the pictures on this one and on the others made, making comments, almost stroking the faces lovingly. For a time, it was a great memory keeper!
It started with a news program. An historian has written about World War 2 and the Great Lakes, talking about the role the Soo Locks played in the war. What? I don’t remember any battles at the Soo Locks!
Then Dad started talking about the Soo (Sault Ste. Marie) during the war, what it was like. There were troops there, zeppelins in the air, and concern about the ships loaded with iron ore getting to the plants to be used to make ships a s aircraft carriers.
Dad said that zeppelins were in the air in a big circle around the locks. One of the zeppelins was across the street from the house he and his brothers grew up in with Grandma and Grandpa. Every morning they’d watch that zeppelin be raised high to protect the locks.
The historian said that if the locks were closed even one day, the entire iron ore supply would be disrupted. So the Soo Locks were an important target to protect. And a part of our family history.
The book is called “Target Great Lakes” by Fred Stonehouse. You can watch the news clip here. And yes, I ordered a copy. I’m looking forward to learning more about the role the Great Lakes played in World War 2. And it might uncover some more memories.
I’m editing and reviewing several movies taken at Marra Family Reunions. I’m finding they are very long, a little boring at times, and I hear a lot of laughter! They are also extremely large files and I’m not sure how to share them yet.
During the 1980s and 1990s we held Marra Reunions every couple of years. The Marra brothers would take turns hosting the reunions, so you may remember being at Louis and Mary’s house or Pat and Jenny’s house. All were welcome, all ages, cousins and more. I remember games of bocci, more food than we could ever eat, and small groups that gathered, caught up on each other’s lives, and again, laughed a lot.
1999 was a special year. Pat & Jenny’s 50th Anniversary Party was held one day and the Marra Reunion the next. So that year, we also had some of Jenny’s family present. That year, the Reunion was held at a park because of the number of people.
I had my GENEAOLOGY notebook, with a page for every family and I went around talking to everyone, making sure I had birth dates, wedding anniversaries, and any memories that were recalled all written on the pages. That developed into an ancestry.com family tree which you can visit and explore. The only birth dates you can see are for those that have passed away, so privacy is maintained. Shannon Orr has been adding and updating a lot of information as well the last few years. Stop by and explore your heritage! Becky Jane Davis Family Tree has 5,700+ people in it now! Not all are Marras, as we continue to spread out and find lost cousins and other relatives every day. [Note: to see the family tree, you need an ancestry account. If you have an account, login and you will be sent to the tree Becky and Shannon are working on. If you don’t have an account, you can create a free one, and then you can see the family tree. If you are active on ancestry, and want to be able to add information, contact Becky and she will invite you to share and edit the content. Or you can add people from the tree to your personal tree.]
What started this post was seeing a photo — all the Marras at the 1999 Marra Family Reunion!
Mom’s ancestors are from Germany. They settled in Pennsylvania, and then moved to the Ohio Valley. Years ago, I found a restaurant near me that had a lot of dishes like Mom used to make for us. When Mom visited, I took her there. They had a deli in back and Mom was so excited. She talked to the owners, who said the cuisine was Pennsylvania Dutch. So Mom and I began researching. She had visited Pennsylvania with Grandma Rohr, visiting cemeteries and towns that Shimp, Friend, Oldfather and Protzman families had lived in the 1800s before they moved to the Ohio Valley.
When these Germans immigrated to America, they said they were from “Deutschland” which was the German name for Germany. They were deemed “Deutsch” or Dutch by those at Ellis Island. Since most settled in Pennsylvania as the land was a lot like Germany for farming. They were called Pennsylvania Dutch, and had their own unique behavior, cuisine and language.
Mom and I had fun learning about the background and history because so much that we learned she remembers about relatives at family reunions. I had a source for buying Scrapple, Lebanese Bologna and other Pennsylvania Dutch foods at the deli.
Today, I read an article on Family Tree about Pennsylvania Dutch. Mom and I would have had fun reading it together!
It has been almost a year since Mom went to be with Jesus. Alzheimer’s was not kind. But the entire family loved on her throughout the progression of the disease. I celebrated Mother’s Day by making a collage of my favorite images of Mom.
We looked everywhere, we thought. The memory wallet made for Jenny/Guppy could not be found. Today it was found! Made based on a book about how to help Alzheimer’s patients remember their life, loved ones, and things that are important. Becky and Janet worked on the contents and then Becky laid out and assembled the wallet. Here are images of the pages. It gives a wonderful view of her life, what was important to her, and family.