Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Monday, August 07, 2006


The Artist's Grandmother

This is my mother's grandmother. So -- to Miriam, Alice, and Theo, she is a great-great-great-grandmother. My mother painted this picture a long time ago. In the picture, the grandmother is mending a stocking. Her had is inside the stocking. In her hand inside the stocking is a round wooden tool called a darning egg. This darning egg allowed you to sew up a hole in a stocking without sticking the needle into your fingers.

Many family members lived together at the time of this painting. My mother, her younger brother, her mother, and her grandmother all lived in a rather small house. When she painted the picture, her older two sisters and two brothers were married with children. But they sometimes lived with their mother too. So my mother got to know her nieces and nephews very well. Her niece Merilyn still keeps this picture on the wall of her house in St.Louis.

The woman in the portrait is Mottle N'movitch Stepansky Binder (1847-1932). Her grandchildren called her "Baba" which means Grandmother. She married Beryl Stepansky (1835-1879) in 1869. They had several children, including my grandmother. Later, he died. When my grandparents, Morris Binder and Dora Stepansky, were getting married, she met my grandfather's father, and married him. He also died.

Mottle came to the United States in 1906 with Morris and Dora and their three older children: Ben, Jack, and Bernadine. The younger children, Sadie, Evelyn (my mother, and your great-grandmother), and Erwin, were born in St.Louis. So our ancestors have been in the US for exactly 100 years.

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