I guess I have always been interested in old photographs and family history. I remember that back when I was in 6th
grade, I was looking through our drawer of photos that were kept in in the dining room buffet in our Merrison St. house in Teaneck, NJ. I asked if I could put them into albums. My mother was thrilled at the idea and kept going out to buy me more
albums as I filled each one up. I can still picture the maroon-colored albums with their black pages. I meticulously organized the photos into chronological groupings and labeled who were in each one. It was tedious to put the 4 white mounting corners on each corner of each photograph, but I loved doing it. What I can’t remember is if they were self-sticking like they are now, or if I had to actually glue each one onto the pages!
Sadly, after my father died, I took apart all the albums and divided up the photos into 4 groups, so that I and each of my siblings would have a pile of pictures of my parents and of our youth.
I was devastated when my father died and once I became pregnant, I was even sadder that my children would never meet my parents and grand-mothers. I was determined to keep their memory alive and set out to write down all of the stories I remembered. I enlisted the help of my Aunt Mildred who answerered some of the questions that I had and I drew up a family tree to add to my ramblings. I wrote to various relatives that I had never met or barely knew and they graciously answered me.
A friend, Carol Chipkin, lent me her electric typewriter to type up my notes. Just when I had finished, I received a letter from Cousin Rebecca Garfinkle with a photo of the Blieden homestead in Riga, Latvia, and also with a family tree that had more information on it than I previously knew about. Cousin Dorothy Sekeley also sent me some information about our Abramowitz side and Cousin Millie Simmons, from South Africa, sent me information about our South African Blieden branch. I had met Millie at Aunt Lois and Uncle Arthur’s house and had corresponded with her for several years before starting this project.
nd a book binder in Cheshire, CT. who was willing to make me 10 hardbound copes of my writings, and Stan and I went up to MA, since Ira offered to help me duplicate all of the pages before bringing the copies to the book binder. It was now 1980.
During that time period I came across a plaque that read “There are only 2 lasting bequests you can give to your children: One is roots
and the other wings”. I made quilted and embroidered book covers for some of the copies and embroidered “My Roots, My Wings” on each cover.
I realized then, and especially now, the roots are easy. It is the wings that are hard to grant. I guess that is why I keep delving into our past so I can forget about the wings and concentrate on the roots.