There is so much more information that I could have passed on to the children who now call me aunt or great aunt. I think of the stories my Daddy told me. We called him Daddy because he would often say that anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy. I agree.
His mother often told stories about her girlhood days in Poland. How much could I possibly verify now? Did she really witness the swirling of the sun as described in the miracle at Fatima? Did she actually have a brother who played a violin in a famous orchestra in Poland or Vienna? Did my Daddy have a twin brother who was left in Austria because she could not afford to bring him with her? Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to sit down and ask her these questions?
Perhaps when I see her again in heaven – yes, I am trying to get there – I will ask her. The language barrier will not be as difficult there as it is on earth.
When I was a child, I was able to understand and actually speak Polish, but as I grew older and wasn't exposed to the language anymore, it slipped away.
I still understand many words, and enjoy listening to people who speak either Polish or Russian. I can get a lot of the words they are saying, yet without a better knowledge of the language, I don't believe I could visit these countries without an interpreter. I'd probably starve.
Recently, at a family gathering, I was greeted politely by all of the youngest nieces and nephews. They wouldn't even know me if they hadn't been told who I was. I realized that I would like to tell them about their grandfather.
Divorce is difficult because it tears families apart. I would like to tell them all of the nice and good things they have probably never heard. I would like to tell them the stories he told me.
I wondered how well they knew their great-grandmother, let alone me. Were they ever told about all of the wonderful things she did? How she would skimp to be able to buy at least a small gift for a birthday? Did they know she had sisters?
Did they know anything about the great-grandfather they were deprived of because he was killed at such a young age? He would have doted on them, regaling them with stories of his adventures in his days with the Navy. He would have taught them so many things, tramped them through country areas where they could see plants and bugs they will never see, except perhaps on TV or in a book, if they were interested. He would have given them the personal touch of seeing nature. He loved children and had the patience to teach them and to talk to them.
Some native cultures retell stories by singing and dancing to keep their history alive. I wish I had taped more conversations with my mother and my aunts and uncles. Although I did tape some, because I always had it in mind that I would write a book about my family, I wish I had recorded more. My book is still in the planning stages. Perhaps someday.