a really cute, vintage, crocheted apron and since I love all things that combine vintage and kitchens I was really excited...
But, she brought an even bigger surprise. This was not only a cute vintage apron...this was made and worn by my great auntie Millie!
Millie was my granny's sister and I think her best friend.
My granny on the left and Millie on the right
Millie was amazing...
One of the last times I saw her, she was in her 90s and she told me her mother always called her the girl with the golden hands...
Millie was an excellent gardener, cook, knitter and crocheter (and I am sure she was good at a million other things but these are the things I remember best).
My mother always called Millie's garden the garden of Eden. Her entire back yard was a garden.
It was immaculate.
It had everything. I especially loved a huge apricot tree...there was nothing like picking sun warmed, sweet apricots off of that tree...
Everytime I went to her house she was pulling fresh baked bread out of the oven and she had a pot of borscht or some other soup on the stove bubbling away making her kitchen smell amazing!
I think she knitted or crocheted every day. She did amazing work with thread. She had a beautiful, very large framed copy of Psalm 23 (the Lord is my Shepherd or it may have been the Lord's prayer I believe she made copies of both) crocheted with the finest white thread hanging on her living room wall.
She was so fun to talk to (especially since she could hear; if anyone spoke loudly to her she was quick to remind that she was the sibling who could hear!) She also was quick to share what was on her mind and tell it like it was even to me as a child which always made me feel very grown up. I loved listening to her stories. One of my favourite Millie stories was how she was in love and wanted to marry but...she had to wait until her older sister married first! She thought that was very unfair but she did wait and Millie and John married on the same day her sister Polly got married...
My Granny on the left with Millie and John. In a lot of pictures I have of
Millie and John they are always looking at each other instead of the camera...
isn't that great!
Millie loved to can and preserve produce from her garden and share it with her neighbours.
She loved to fish even though she was a vegetarian and she would share her catch of the day with others as well.
Everytime we went to her house she insisted on feeding us and feeding us well; no matter what time of day it was. I can still picture her waving her hand at us if we claimed we weren't hungry. She would not hear of it. My granny used to do this as well and I can still hear her voice saying "eat, nah...punyamyish" (now I have no idea how to spell that; all I know is that it is Russian for Understand?) and then she would follow with..."do you want people to think your granny doesn't feed you!"
I think my love of good food was nurtured by my granny and great aunties. Growing up in the 70s and 80s my meals consisted of primarily processed foods as I am sure many others in my age group did as well.
But, my granny and my great aunties were from a different time; a time when all food was fresh, in season, organic and made from scratch.
I was able to experience some of that when I was with them.
I never saw Millie cook anything that was premade (unless it had been premade and preserved by her).
Millie taught us how to make Blintze and fresh pasta. She taught my mom how easy it was to make a pot of soup from whatever was fresh in the garden. I still do those things. I still think of her everytime I pull out my granny's old cast iron pan to make a batch of blintze for breakfast.
I feel so honoured and a little inadequate to wear her apron...even though I am sure she would roll her eyeballs and wave her hand at me for saying so...and be a little annoyed that I put a picture of this apron up as a public example of her work. But, I love it and wanted to share...