Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grandma--Elizabeth Bruehl Strauss Treyman

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".


  1. What an interesting post, Marti! I wonder what she would think of America today. I think we've lost something important in all the hurry to make 'progress' in the past decades.

  2. Your grandmother reminds me of my grandmother. She always wore dresses with full slips and those heavy stockings as well. I loved her so much. My father's family immigrated from Germany and she lost all her brothers, except for the youngest in WWI. When WWII came around she was devastated and they finally were able to come to America at the end of the war. Beautiful memories. Enjoy your weekend!

    1. I just love reading about ancestors. I never get tired of realizing just how much we are exactly like them.

  3. I love this post as it allows me to recall my own Grandma and Papa. My Papa emigrated from Germany when he was 9 years old, just before the first WW. Grandma was much like yours, except she was born here.Theirs was a real love story.