In life, I believe that we encounter many people, all of whom we meet by no coincidence, but because God knows that we can learn something valuable from them. No matter what kind of influence they may have had on our lives, they still leave us a better person in the end. Evelyn Grace Schaffer is one of those people for me; My Oma! Oma, isn’t it is amazing how one word can mean so much.
Grace, although her middle name, means ‘good will’ and 'blessings.' She has raised a family and has lived through many of the good and bad changing times of our world, therefore has unconditional love for almost everyone she comes in contact with. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say a bad word about anyone. She has always taught me to be a good person and to respect others. She is a good Christian in every sense of the word and a model for me to help others!
Many of my favorite childhood memories involve food in some way. The smell of dinner fresh from the oven; the flavor of delicious home-baked goods; the joy that fills a happy kitchen. These visceral patterns were imprinted in my mind at an early age and are still with me today. At the center of these memories is my Oma. Her food was just not made with love, it was love. I remember gathering around her table on many holidays eating together as a family; her always serving the men first. She also taught me how to make pies. When she would have leftover dough we would make “milk pies” in little tins. I think that part of my love for cooking comes from my Oma. I like to put thought and love into my meals and that was learned from her.
Oma is such a hard worker and I remember helping her clean. During my high school years I would WANT to spend my weekends with her. I would call her and she would pick me up. I would help her clean and then we would return to her house for a sleepover. I would spend all weekend with her and enjoy every moment of it. We would buy pizza crusts and make our own pizzas. She always seemed to have little sugary boxes of cereal on hand and would let me drink coffee in the mornings. I didn’t mind her snoring either! I just wanted to spend time with her. On one instance, Oma, Auntie, and I went ‘cruising’ down Main Street in Northampton and they had their babushkas on trying to embarrass me. No such luck! Not many high school kids did what I did, but I am grateful that we had these times together.
Now that I've grown up, for the most part, I can reflect on the knowledge my Oma imparted to me. She encouraged me to do the right things in life. To have a family and to raise them well. She didn't just tell me these things, she showed me by example.
I like to think I inherited some of my best qualities from my Oma: my humor and to not take things to seriously, my work ethic, and most importantly my love of food and family.
Oma, I love you with all of my heart and I hope that when I am 90 years old I have the amount of Grace and love that you do! Happy 90th Birthday!