One of Busia’s Earliest Memories
In the early 1920’s, Busia remembers her great-grandmother Martcina (Gempski) Lehman visiting. Martcina was stretched out between two chairs in the kitchen, reclining with her long hair undone. (She had just washed it.) Loretta ran up, yanked it, ran outside and hid. But when she was found, she got a good spanking. Despite all this abuse from her her great grandchildren, Martcina outlived her own daughter Theophila.
Busia gets an Ice Cream
When she was around 7, (1925) grandma’s mother Mathilda, sent her to town to buy ice cream to bring home. But since she only spoke Polish (they learned English in school) when Busia went to order, the shopkeepers thought she said she wanted s sundae. So she sat there eating the delicious sundae while people stared at this small girl eating a big sundae. Gramma knew she was going to be in trouble at home, but there was nothing she could do. They couldn’t communicate with her. She paid for it and it was melting, so she had to eat it.
Busia checks out Ted in Church
Around 1933, when Busia was 15, she used to “check out” Ted Pehowski at St. Adalbert’s church during mass. He would be sitting with his brother Bill. Grandma said she had no interest in Bill only Ted (who would have been about 21 years old.)
When she saw grandpa at a dance, he was dancing with a gal named Adelia (who resembled Loretta). Loretta was getting jealous that Ted was dancing with this other girl. But while he was dancing with the other girl, he was winking at HER!
Ted and Loretta dated for only 6 months before they married in 1936.
Busia learns to Drive
Around 1937, when Busia was around 19, she learned to drive by practicing in a field. In a time, when most women didn’t drive, this was pretty bold. She said they drove without a license until people started getting pulled over. When she heard her own pa, Walter Czerwinski, got pulled over, she officially got a license.
And when people needed glasses in those days, they ordered them in the mail. A kit was sent to the home, they followed the directions, mailed it back and got their glasses.
Busia finds out she’s with Child
On Mother’s Day 1939, Loretta found out she was pregnant with Patricia. When Patti was born in January 1940, Dorothy who was 11 and lived with them shouted, “Good it’s a girl!”
Phyllis was delivered in Busia’s mother’s house (Mathilda) in Rosholt with the doctor shining his lights in the windows because there was a storm. Someone in Polish said, “The stork was there.” Cindy was the only child born in the hospital.
Busia hears a Ghost
One dreary night on the old Pehowski farmstead, grandma heard someone playing the piano downstairs. Quietly, she crept down the stairs (probably with a weapon in hand.) That’s when she discovered the ghost, was really a mouse running up and down the keyboard.
Busia’s Last Day with her sister Bernice and Phyllis’ Temper
Around 1949, Loretta and Ted lived in Stevens Point on the south side of town for about one year. She remembers a Sunday when Phyllis was waiting for them to take her to a church picnic to join her girlfriend Gladys. Well unexpectedly, Loretta’s sister Bernice Karpinski and her husband and two kids stopped in. They sat on the front porch enjoying the day.
Phyllis was angry, because they decided not to go the picnic. She was so mad she slammed a door and broke a mirror. It took three years for Phyllis to pay off the broken mirror. Mom particularly remembers the visit with her sister because there was an A& W root beer stand next door and her sister Bernice said “Oh this is the best ice cream cone I ever had, and such a big one!” Mom remembers this because Bernice drowned the next day in Rosholt near Flume creek after a seizure.
(After her death, Bernice’s children lived with other family members. Her daughter Audrey lived with Henrietta and Tony. And Michael (who later changed his last name to Czerwinski) lived with Dennis and Betty.)
What Loretta’s children ATE
Feeling sick the day of a party, Cindy and Steve once ate practically a whole jar of St. Joseph Aspirin. (I guess that orange flavor was too hard to resist) Patti remembers getting a call from Busia when they lived in Milwaukee worried that Cindy might die and what should she do? I told her give her lots of water. I remember Cindy wanted to go to a party and thought that if she took the whole jar she would get get well quicker. (Cindy the nurse now?)
And once Patti ate a whole bar of EX-LAX because she thought it was chocolate. And she and Phyllis used to lick the cans of Karo syrup.
And once Ken was so bored at a wedding at the old Wildwood ballroom in Stevens Point, he told Busia he swallowed a screw. He fessed up after Busia told him to check his stools for a week.
Grandpa gets duped in Milwaukee during the 1960’s
Busia said grandpa was once duped while waiting in the car for her to buy new pants for Steve on North 3rd Street in Milwaukee. While waiting, someone approached grandpa and persuaded him to buy a box of dish washing detergent. He thought it was a good deal. But when they got home, they found the liquid was only colored water nothing more.
And at an auction once, grandpa got gypped buying chickens that were supposedly good layers, with the eggs displayed as proof. But the eggs were hollow and the chickens were not good layers.
Cindy Recalls the Wedding of John and Elaine in 1968
Back when the John and Elaine got hitched (I think I was 13 at the time) mom made her select me as a bridesmaid. Elaine did NOT want me, we couldn’t stand each other, but I think I agreed with mom just to irritate Elaine. (Gosh, I bet I was a pain the ass!) Well, naturally I made a beautiful bridesmaid with my orange sherbet colored dress and black horn rimmed glasses. Well to this day, every anniversary John and Elaine have, July 20th, I always send them a card signed “unwanted bridesmaid” and of course point out to them and ask, “Did any of your OTHER bridesmaids send you a card?”
The Upper Flat Ted and Loretta home on Milwaukee South side
June remembers..Before they moved into the trailer house up north, Ted and Loretta lived in an upper flat on Milwaukee’s south side. It was across from a park with a wading pool. Grammy used to work washing clothes at the old age home across the street.
You walked up to the flat in a long twisting stairway which ended up into their dining room. To the left was a living room, where they had a long silky greenish blue couch that curved. Just off this room was a smaller room, that led to a door and a porch. I remember sitting on that upper porch and looking up and down the street. It was a big porch and the uncles would sit out there and drink beer. On the street, there was still an old post with a round ring attached where people used to tie horses in the old days. For awhile Ken and Lucy and then Steve an Donna lived in houses nearby.Becky remembers... I was going through our old photos one day and came upon some of the old house Grandma and Grandpa lived at when Aunt Cindy was a hippie. I found these old photos so interesting and I even remember being in the upper flat once when I was little I also remember being in the house across the street that my Mom and Dad rented but from when Uncle Steve and aunt Donna lived in it. I conned Sarah into going down there with me to the old neighborhood to see what these houses look like now. We took a camera and stopped in front of these houses to take pictures. The houses actually still looked pretty good.
Cindy Recalls Elaine teaching her Kids not to Eat Meat on Friday
A few years back, my sister Elaine, was trying to teach the Catholic ways to her lovely children. They were eager to learn from such an astute teacher. Mikey came home on day (mind you, he was a teenager) during Lent. Elaine was fervently teaching her kids about fasting and not eating meat on Fridays. Well Mikey, was sooo proud of himself, he stated, “Hey mom, you will be happy to know how good I was eating at McDonald’s today. I didn’t eat any meat!”
Elaine was beaming, “What did you have?” A cheerful Mikey answered “I had the chicken!”
Don’t forget to Feed the Bunnies, Grandpa
In 1978, Loretta and Ted house sat on Quincy Avenue when our family took our huge Buick Estate Wagon to “rough it” at a cabin in Lake Tomahawk.
At the time, we had bunnies 3 hutches against the back fence. Grandpa fed the bunnies everyday except for the last pen. To him it looked like it was empty everyday when he checked.
But there was a bunny in the last pen. The little hopper was fearful and always hid in the covered bedroom every time someone neared it. When we returned from Lake Tomahawk, Chris, (the designated bunny whisperer) noticed how docile and hungry the bunny in the last cage was…that’s when grandpa realized there had EVEN been a bunny in that hutch. We are guessing the bunny drank rain water somehow or it wouldn’t have survived the summer heat.
June’s memory of Becky…the 6th kid in our family
When Ken and Lucy lived on Pine Avenue in Milwaukee we spent a lot of time with them. We all cried when they told us they were moving to Colgate. Becky especially spent a lot of time at our house doing things with us so much that she began to feel like another sister. When the family moved, Becky being in high school, wanted to finish the semester and still be close to her friends in Milwaukee. So she actually lived with us for awhile. It was at that time, that one day I came home and walked into the house on Quincy which was exceptionally quiet. Where was everyone? I wandered from room to room, upstairs and down finding no one. But then I heard a strange noise emminating from the basement. Slowly, I walked down the back steps to the basement and the noise grew louder.
Lo and below there was Becky holding down the metal arms of this big machine with a hose that stretched across the basement. The machine was shaking Becky and it took all her strength to hold it down. At the far end, I could see my dad squatted down, the smell was horrible. He was snaking out the sewer drain because tree roots had grown into the pipes. Unable to find one of his own kids…he snagged Becky into the task of PLUMBING ASSISTANT. Becky looked at me wide-eyed with a wearied expression but I quickly darted away. I knew if my dad saw me, he would assign me the grimy task poor Becky was subjected too. Sorry Becky 40 years later.
Relatives at the SouthTowne Apartment Pools
In the mid-1990s, when Patti, my mom, retired she spent her whole entire day at the pool with Amanda. Amanda was was about 3-4-5- years of age. Then baby Mark came along and I worked part-time so I came to the pool as well. Faye, Cindy and Michelle Burant stopped in too sometimes. Then Aunt Dorothy retired from Lloyd’s Lunch and she came to the pool to tan and gossip. We had OUR TABLE and our area. And one day we saw SKINNY dippers. What memorable times at the pool.
Cindy remembers spending four days with Pat and John at the pool and it was her most relaxing vacation. Pat babied me, something the rest of you should consider doing too. We would rest at the pool, then eat out, and then go shopping. (Remember the super sidewalk sales by the pharmacy in downtown S. Milwaukee.) It was so much fun to pick on John too. He needs that. I remember Aunt Dorothy worked as a waitress nearby and when we ate, I left her a tip in pennies all over the table.