Friday, August 27, 2010

Sepia Saturdays: Grandpa Was Right!

Grandpa always said "Grandma was the most beautiful woman in the world."

Turns out he was right.

John Ignatius Grocholski and Clara M Lipke c. 1910

I did not know these beautiful pictures of my grandparents, existed until their youngest daughter, Mary, a beauty in her own right, shared them with me in July of this year. I had only known Grandpa John and Grandma Clara from more contemporary pictures, and as I remembered them in life.

Clara's Edwardian gown, though high necked and long sleeved, looks comfortable, cool and crisp to the touch. I love the material, the textures, the brightness, the tucks and lace. The beautiful roses, probably picked from the garden, look fresh and scented as roses once were.

She looks serene and content with her choice while grandpa seems to barely contain his pride and happiness with his new bride. Grandpa once shared the story of his wedding day with me. A Polish band and his groomsmen met at his house. The lively procession picked up attendees and passers by along the way as they paraded to young Clara's home. From there, John escorted Clara, her family and bridesmaids to the church. Later, and after these photos were taken, they celebrated for three days in fine Polish tradition.

They raised seven children with love and laughter through two wars and the Great Depression. Their home was the gathering place for a multitude of friends and a large family.


Joe, Margaret, Mary and John (November, 1942).

The picture above shows four of their seven children. (L-R) Joe, my father, will be married the following October to my mother, Delphine. He tried to join the service, but all four branches turned him down because of his eyesight. John is about to be married, will join Marines and come home safely after serving in the South Seas and then in Germany during the liberation of the concentration camps. Mary and Margaret have both taken war time jobs. Between the four of them they will have 14 children (seven of which include me and my siblings). The oldest son, George, is not in this picture - perhaps he is the one taking the picture. Two tiny daughters with blonde curly hair, Genevieve and Dorothy, died of encephalitis when they were toddlers. Aunt Margaret still cried when she spoke of them 50 years later.

Everyone is gone now, except Aunt Mary who at age 86 is still beautiful and still has her often used youthful laugh.

Stop by our host, Alan Burnett's Sepia Saturday Blog for more family photo fun.


Mary said...

Lovely story and photos.

Alan Burnett said...

She was indeed a beauty. But what strikes me in the wedding party picture - especially when enlarged - is the character in all of those faces. There is a strength there but almost a determination to enjoy life. I can almost hear the Polish band in the background.

WhoWereThey said...

That is a terrific story about the band and walking down the street. I picture bystanders watching and smiling at the joy of the occasion that must have been surrounding the crowd. Thank you so much for sharing this!


Pat transplanted to MN said...

We share the Polish lineage, somewhere I have a relative who resembles your grandfather in the wedding pose, though that name has not surfaced at all in my genealogy. Lovely photos, what a time it had to be the Polish band playing along down the street! The Polish weddings did last for days celebrating.

Nancy said...

Gorgeous! She's absolutely gorgeous. Her wedding dress and teh brides' maid dresses are just exquisite. Your post was interesting to read, as well. The photographs themselves are so pure--no dots or scratches. Wonderful!

Marilyn said...

Wonderful photos and such a beautiful bride. It's so good you were told the story of their wedding day.

Carole said...

What great photographs.

Jinksy said...

You write well to explain these images, and bring them to life for us.