Every summer when we were kids we went to visit Grandma. Today, I thought I would introduce you to her. She was completely old country! Everything from her thick brogue to her cotton stockings, and hair style with little poufs on each side just above her ears, reflected her Latvian upbringing. She was raised Evangelical, and never hesitated to share her beliefs. She was a good woman with some different ways that reflected her heritage.As World War I, began in Europe, many people fled from the oncoming German onslaught. My grandma, who was in her early 20's was one of those. Born in Riga, Latvia--one of the Baltic Sea countries--her mother's family were farmers and shepherds. Her father was a fisherman, catching cod and herring in the Baltic Sea.
Riga began to develop as a centre of Viking trade during the early Middle Ages. Riga's inhabitants occupied themselves mainly with fishing, animal husbandry, and trading, later developing crafts (in bone, wood, amber, and iron).
She arrived in America at Ellis Island along with thousands of other immigrants. She lived in Baltimore, where my mother was born, later moved to Philadelphia, then moved out West to Montana. A few years later she and Grandpa moved to Tooele, Utah where Grandpa worked at the Kennecott Bingham Copper Mine, the world's largest open-pit excavation mine.
They had a home just outside of town with a fruit orchard, chicken coop, and work shop for grandpa. She had a big garden, canned enough fruit and vegetables to supply their needs and also share with their neighbors. She loved to crochet and embroidery. She was a thrifty person, using every scrap of fabric she had--some for quilts, some for little dresses that she made for a Korean orphanage. She also would reuse tea bags--letting them dry on a little saucer on the window sill. Nothing went to waste.
She taught me to knit--European style (they don't throw the yarn, just work off the tip of the index finger).
She loved America, and often told us how wonderful it was to live here as compared to the life she had in "the old country".