Grandma Anna Gabriela Brozman and Grandpa John Silinski, Mom and Dad, Mike, Tom, and I
This was the 1960s cast of family members that got together each Thanksgiving in a small cozy 3rd floor, 2 bedroom apartment, of an old tenement building in Yonkers, NY (their home for 40+ years). Allow me to recount (while my mental facilities still allow) our 1960s Thanksgivings.
The 1 hour "groundhog counting" journey took us from our home at 7 Merrimac rd, Poughkeepsie, NY, down the Taconic State parkway to Orchard St Yonkers, NY. Upon arrival there would be navigational penance where Dad would eventually find a parking space on the crowded street, followed by the ritual foot race up 3 flights of old wooden stairs guided by dark brown banisters to the top where Grandma and Grandpa waited with smiles and open arms. Of coarse, yours truly, being the oldest and the fastest was always to the top 1st (I wonder who would win that foot race today! ). On the way up we would pass Ed and Mary Brozman Klapp, and John and Vera Brozman Yambric (the 3 Brozman sisters lived in the same building with their families for 40+ years). The apartment had an enclosed but unheated narrow breezeway with windows on one side and a 2nd stairway to the back of the building on the other. This space was used by Grandma to access the outside clothes line which strung from their building to another building across the 20'x20' "yard" . Looking out that view watching Grandma hang clothes awed and dizzied me.
Entrance to the apartment was straight into a small kitchen where Grandma worked her magic, that also had a very small window where at the end of the day we would throw out the few remaining turkey scraps to the alley cats 3 stories below. The traditional watching of the Macys Parade, football games, and the Laurel and Hardy version of "March of the wooden soldiers" were all done from a room at the back of the apartment. I think there was only 1 standalone gas "box" that stood just off center of the room used to heat the small apartment. Down the narrow hallway thru the kitchen at the other end of the apartment was a small dining room that overlooked the yard / alley where the clothes line was at.
The table was always set beautifully, with plateware handed down from generations brought over from Czechoslovakia. We still use those dishes today (pics in gallery). Grandma and Grandpa Silinski worked jobs as a clerk, and a skyscraper / iron worker. They did not have much, but they always made Thanksgiving seem plentiful with the traditional big turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, apple pie. I always appreciated the day, and underestimated the work put in by Grandma especially to make the feast a great success with their meager means of living. Perhaps, more importantly, it was her uncompromising love that made the day seem even more plentiful.
Thanks especially to you Grandma Anna as I start Thanksgiving day each year, striving to practice the love and grace you taught us in your remembrance.