My Aunt Josephine’s birthday is today.  March 8 and she would have been 104 years old.  Aunt Josephine was my third mother.  After my birth mother, and then her death, Aunt Lil took over until after Carol was born.  Then dad and I moved again, and Aunt Josephine took over until I was almost nine.  But that is getting ahead of myself about this most unique woman.

Josephine Holasek was the third child of Josef and Theresa Holasek.  My father was the oldest.  And Aunt Theresa was the oldest daughter.  In this picture, Aunt Josephine is in the middle.  A real beauty by any standards, but she never married because she devoted her life to her family.  She like any of the other children in the family helped with the family business, the butcher shop and store.  But Aunt Josephine was also responsible for much of the running of the home with Grandma.  My grandma had children 20 years apart from oldest to youngest, so she was in the first group.  So she had the added responsibility of caring for the younger siblings, and especially Uncle Edward who was born when grandma was 44 years old.  Aunt Josephine would have been 17 years old in this picture. Scan 113410000 When Grandpa bought the Farm in Garrettsville, Ohio this is something I really didn’t comprehend until recently.  On studying genealogy, in 1940, Aunt Josephine and Uncle Joe were listed in the 1940 census as living there.  In other words, they were shipped off to run the farm, grow crops, and Aunt Josephine ran the house with no indoor plumbing.  They did this for at least 5 years.  Dad did rig up indoor water from the well for cooking etc. Aunt Lil remembers their many excursions together because Aunt Lil was probably there in the summers, and that is the only time in her life that Aunt Josephine drove a car.  This Picture was probably taken at the farm around 1939 or 1940. Aunt Josephine blog family pic around 1939 or 1940-1   This picture was taken around that same time because Uncle Joe is still not drafted into the army and they still had the farm at this point.  Aunt Josephine is standing next to her aunt and her mother(grandma)  is third from the top Image 9 During the war years, the farm was sold, and everyone was drafted or enlisted in World War II except dad who was rejected from the army for poor circulation.  He had the responsibility of keeping the store and butcher shop going along with both aunts and grandma. Aunt Josephine’s responsibilities with me, as I mentioned earlier, started in late 1946. This is a picture of me with Aunt Josephine and Uncle Joe. Aunt Josephine and me2-3 Within one year, the family would sell everything, and move to the West side near Aunt Lil, Uncle Jack, and Carol.  That home on Archmere remained in the family for over 60 years.

When I think back about that period of time in my life, writing about Aunt Josephine, I can barely do it without a tear in my eye.  She was absolutely devoted to my well-being.  I remember asking her as a young child, “can I call you mother, because your are a mother to me,” and her eyes would twinkle and she would say, “I am your Aunt Josephine.  That is what I want you to call me.”

To give you an understanding of Aunt Josephine’s responsibilities of this time in her life, I will go over her daily responsibilities.  She was up around 5 AM packing Uncle George’s lunch, feeding him breakfast, and getting him off to work.  Next up, was my dad, Aunt Theresa, and Uncle Joe.  She would feed them breakfast, pack their lunches and send them off to work at The White Motor Company.  Somewhere during all of this, Grandma was fed breakfast, probably with Uncle Ed whose lunch was packed and he was sent off to college on the GI Bill.  I was last.  She would get me up, feed me breakfast, see that I was dressed and walk me to school for several years about a mile away. Laundry, and managing the house was all on her while I was in school.  Grandma would help, but she was older then.  They would bake from scratch Bohemian pastry for dinner.  It came from raised dough. Then after school, Aunt Josephine would walk the mile and pick me up and we would walk home.  Now I know why she enjoyed me watching television.  Daddy made the case, and Uncle Ed the TV, and she needed a break while she made dinner.  Aunt Josephine and me2-1 The family dinner was around 5 or 5:30 around the yellow table in the kitchen.  We always started with Mrs. Grass’ noodle soup.  I did write a blog for a website entitled yellow table, but can’t find it at the moment.  There was a lot of laughter and love at that table.  It was one of those 1940’s metal yellow table.

After dinner, she would do the dishes. When she was finished, Uncle Ed would come in from college and she would heat up his dinner and feed him.  Around 7, Uncle George would come in and she would feed him.  By that time, it was bath time and bedtime for me.

There were a lot of people living in that three bedroom house.  So my bed was a double with Aunt Josephine.  Also in the room were grandma and Aunt Theresa.  When I was young, I wet the bed.  Oh my goodness, sharing a bed with a bed wetter, and she never ever complained. And then, the next day, she repeated her job all over again.

She was responsible for all the family big meals on Sunday with the Uncle Jack, Aunt Lil, and Carol.  They were in the dining room, with the good dishes.  Oh what celebrations we had. IMG_0452

Daddy's story part 2-2

In the summer, off Dad and I went with Carol to Sunday School, at which time Aunt Josephine did all the cooking and packing for the family picnics we took every Sunday we could.  We went back to the part of the Holasek farm near Nelson ledges and had our own picnic spot. Aunt Josephine in her care of me always had me impeccably dressed.  All of the Holasek’s I imagine pitched in and bought my clothes.  She always did my hair, and saw to it that every need was met.  This is such a wonderful candid shot that says everything!

Aunt Josephine and me-6 And this picture which is one of my favorites on Put in Bay Island.   Aunt Josephine put in bay-1   This picture was with both of my aunts, Theresa and Josephine. Aunt Josephine and me2-2   I had no idea when I turned 8 when she gave me this birthday party that it would be my last one in The Holasek House.  Aunt Josephine and me-2 Or this would be my last summer at The Holasek House

Aunt Josephine and me-1

Everyone was sitting at that yellow table in the fall of 1954 and daddy said he was getting remarried and he would be taking me with him of course.  I started to cry saying, “I don’t want to leave.”  Aunt Theresa and Aunt Josephine kept saying, you can’t take her away from us.  Uncle George was the calm one and said, let Bill do what he needs and wants to do.

On my last day at William Rainey Harper School, Aunt Josephine walked and withdrew me from school.  On our way home was the only time I ever saw her cry except when grandma died the next year.  I said to her as a naive little kid, “Aunt Josephine, why are you crying”  She of course was too choked up to answer.   Aunt Josephine was my caregiver for 8 years.  She is so dear to my heart, and her story will be continued with the Holasek Stories to come.  I wrote her many letters through the years telling her how much she meant to me.  The love we had for each other had no bounds. . .

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