Today, Grandma Zimmerman passed away. Rather than mourn the person we lost, I would like to celebrate the person we had and the life she gave to her family.
She was just a little farm girl in western Kansas, born to German immigrants from Russia. She strongly felt the effects of the Great Depression and the grime of the Dirty Thirties, but the family never complained and thrived with what they had.
As the little girl grew up, she met her dashing Prince and fell in love. Life didn’t exactly become easier for Martina, and within one week of her mother dying, her beloved Joe received orders to report for duty in Uncle Sam’s Army. Still, she didn’t complain as she took over her mother’s duties at home and waited for letters from Joe in Europe.
She must have breathed a sigh of relief and sent a prayer of thanksgiving to God when the war ended and her man came home in 1946. They quickly married and settled down to start a family. First there was Don and then Darrell, Bill and Wayne and Bob, then two little girls, Marilyn and Jolene. Joe and Martina’s love and family and farm grew.
Then, everything came to a shuddering halt as her dear husband’s five year struggle with brain cancer ended. She was alone with her seven children and the farm.
Oh, eventually, she started dating another kind man and once again dreamed of the possibility of love again, not the same love that she had shared with Joe, but love just the same. But this man’s sudden death from a heart attack ended that budding dream and caused her to live the rest of her life solely for her children. And she raised those children well, and they loved her dearly.
Eventually, she welcomed grandchildren, thirteen in all, and looked forward to holidays and celebrations when everyone would come home once again.
She would cook for them, making food that would become famous throughout the family. Chicken noodle soup made with her homemade noodles, pumpkin longies (or plechenga), potato salad and angel food cake all became holiday staples.
Years passed and time flew and Martina once again welcomed babies into her family – great grandchildren this time. She adored them and loved holding them during visits.