Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sisterhoods and Baked Goods

My-Mother-The-Dowager-Duchess grew up in a family of nine, which included her parents along with six girls and one boy. Time passes, sometimes sadly, and the brother and two of the sisters are now gone. But the remaining sisterhood is still strong.

THE SISTERHOOD (AND THEIR MOTHER) IN THE 1940s.

Monday, I drove my mother to visit her sister Matilda who now lives in New Jersey. Usually, Matilda insists on serving lunch, but this time the plan was that we would go out. Matilda tripped and broke her arm about six months ago. She's tough and determined and, although I'm sure it was difficult, she managed well. She finally got the cast off and was soon in an accident and broke the other arm. The right arm still needs time to fully heel; the left arm is in a splint. One would think that would slow her down, but it hasn't. When we arrived at Aunt Matilda's apartment Monday afternoon, she had a beautiful blueberry cake and a huge bag of chocolate chip mondel brodt (Jewish biscotti) packed up on the dining room table for us to take home. She had baked the day before just for us.

AUNT MATILDA'S MONDEL BRODT.  I FINISHED IT ALL BEFORE I LEFT NEW YORK.

AUNT MATILDA'S BLUEBERRY CAKE.  PERFECTION!
I TRIED TO FINISH IT BEFORE I LEFT NEW YORK.

I asked Matilda how she managed and she said she had a plastic glove that fits perfectly over the splinted left arm. She said she used the side of her arm, encased in the glove, to pound the dough. Unbelievable. (And I don't think that's why she was given that glove.)

AUNT MATILDA AND THE DOWAGER DUCHESS LAST WEEK... 
... AND A FEW YEARS BACK.

The oldest living sister, my Aunt Sylvie (89), has had dementia for a number of years. She has an amazing care-giver who lives with her and takes such good care of her that her physical health remains exceptional, so exceptional in fact that her doctor has told the care-giver she needs to tend to him when the time comes. We're grateful she is so lovingly and expertly watched over. She used to travel to California with my mother every year to spend a couple of weeks with us. We miss those times. Now, my mother visits her with their "kid sister." Tuesday, after my mother returned from Trader Joe's, I took her to visit Aunt Sylvie. We arrived later than hoped, but were fortunate to bump into the "kid sister" just as she was leaving.

AUNT SYLVIE.  LOVED AND WELL TAKEN CARE OF.

When Aunt Sylvie was still pretty sharp and she and The Duchess visited us in Santa Barbara, she was admiring all the family photos we had hanging on our walls. She came upon a photo of The Kid Brother and me (from 1961) and said, "Who's that?" The Duchess responded, "That's Mitchell and Chucky." Sylvie said, pointing at my face in the photo, "I know that's Chucky, but who's the other one?" The Duchess said, "No. That's Mitchell. Chucky is in front of him." Sylvie looked at me, looked at the photo, looked again at me, and said, "I don't remember you being so cute." She paused, appearing to consider what she had just said. Then she clarified, "Chucky was always better looking than you... Still is."

I'M THE FUNNY LOOKING ONE IN BACK.

22 comments:

  1. Hello Mitch:
    How wonderful that this 'Sisterhood' of strong women is still very much intact. The photograph of Aunt Matilda and your mother is so beautifully joyful and one can really see that these are the same two mischievous looking girls in the earlier photograph!!

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    1. Jane and Lance:
      Such a thoughtful comment. Thanks. There were two years between each of the 7 children. My mother and Matilda were especially close as they grew up, so I have several photos of the twosome over the years. It was difficult to choose just one. Sylvie, the second oldest girl, was the glamorous one in the family and coached her younger sisters to be more sophisticated and elegant. Quite a group!

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  2. I too had an aunt Silvia...she was dyslexic and did the 4th grade four times...the only reason she didn't get kicked out of school was that granpa would bring free milk to the school and during the Depression that was a big deal.
    Lovely ladies your aunts...mine are all gone...I have one uncle left in Cuba who is now 80 (17 yrs younger than La Gran Dama)
    saludos,
    raulito

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    1. Raulito:
      THAT'S the problem. My Aunt Sylvia must be dyslexic, too. She meant the one in the BACK was the cute one!

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  3. This was a lovely post :) When you have good family, it's a great thing :)

    You and the kid bro both look cute as could be in that photo!

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    1. Judeet:
      Thanks! I think we were BOTH pretty cute, too!

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  4. What a wonderful family you have and great memories. Having a family which obviously loves and cares so much for one another is a great blessing. I'm so glad you were able to visit your mother and brother and other relatives, and I'm sure they were too. Will you mother come to Seville? Has she already?

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    1. Kristi:
      Unfortunately, the trip to Sevilla is too exhausting for my mother to make. We had hoped it would be an easier trip. So, we'll just have to keep visiting her!

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  5. Cute as a button! Not only The Duchess and your aunt, but you and the kid brother too.

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    1. Peter:
      Truthfully, I always thought Chucky was a lot cuter, too. But, in that picture, I don't think I was half bad!

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  6. Oh I am just loving this look into your family. And all the sisters have aged quite well and do look like they are thriving! If only I would look so good at that stage of my life!

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    1. Jenners:
      My mother amazes me. Sylvie is even more beautiful in person (maybe it helps to not be aware enough to have any worries). And nothing can stop Matilda!

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  7. I love these post so much...and the photos are priceless

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    1. Monkey Man:
      Thanks. I really enjoy going through the old photos. So much more to show ... and tell.

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  8. I've often thought that the one advantage to being old (I won't say senile) is that you can say whatever you want and everyone will dismiss it because you're old. The problem is--people think I'm senile now! You have a lovely family, except for that peculiar kid behind the little one in the photo. Ha!

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    1. Stephen:
      It IS amazing what my aunts (and my mother) get away with. They used to say the same things -- and worse -- when they were young. But, with age comes wisdom... and privileges!

      Yeah, that poor kid in the back was sure funny looking.

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  9. So your aunt thinks your little brother is cuter than you? Well, life ain't a beauty contest! My younger sister was always much prettier than me, but I wouldn't change places with her for anything! I'm sure you warmed many hearts with you visit to NY and that alone is a beautiful thing!

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Oh, but in some families (I didn't say mine... but...), life IS a beauty contest!

      Anyway, I can't imagine ANYONE being much prettier than you!

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  10. How fortunate to have so many aunts. I think they make the best relations.

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    1. Spo:
      Very good people. And very "powerful"!

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  11. Me too! I love my aunts. So good to see the strong bond the 'sisterhood' still has......must be and has been so supportive through the years.
    Sylvie looks to be the type to just call it as it is....she looks very spry!
    Now I must call my one remaining aunt and set a time to visit. Thanks for this nudge, Mitch.

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    Replies
    1. Jim:
      They are definitely a very strong support network. Give another hug to your aunt from me!

      Delete

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