Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mary Irene Sarna 1894-1991 Part 2

Life After Stephen

After the death of her husband, Stephen A.  Gabuzda in 1966, Mary Sarna GABUZDA continued to live in the huge home that her husband built back in 1915. Her seven adult children “kept an eye on her,” by visiting her on a regular basis. They would also pick her up and take her to visit their homes throughout the east coast from Pennsylvania to Virginia. 

During the summer of 1967, Mary took a Greyhound bus with daughter, Beezie and grand daughter, Gail, to Norfolk, Virginia to visit Martha. I found a letter that my mother, Martha, wrote to her mother-in-law, Sophie Piña COOPER describing in great detail her mother’s visit. She writes, “I kept them quite busy with sightseeing; but learned that this is not what my mother enjoys doing. She enjoyed her day at the beach the most and her big thrill was wading in the Atlantic Ocean - her first time.”

“I took them down Cape Hatteras to Manteo to see The Lost Colony, also a trip to Williamsburg. Beezie and Gail throughly enjoyed it. Mom decided she had had enough traveling and refused to go to Pennsylvania Dutch country with us…so we took mom home to Freeland.” I am sure Grandma was glad to be back in her home at age 73.

The summer of 1968, my family moved out to California. We drove up the east coast to visit relatives knowing it would be awhile until we would see family again.

It was not until the summer of 1975, that my family took a trip back to the east coast to visit relatives. We started in Maryland seeing her two sisters, Beezie  and Marion. We drove up to Freeland, to pick up their mother, Mary, so she could stay with her daughters for a few weeks. One of our visits included Arlington National Cemetery to visit my father’s gravesite. I remember seeing a large crowd in another section with areas blocked off.

Asking about it, we found out that President Ford was at the cemetery that day. My grandmother was delighted to be able to shake the president’s hand. She did not wash her hands for days. 

I thought we had to have taken some photos with our cameras of this trip. Unfortunately, I have yet to find them. But, I remember the proud look on my grandmother’s face for many days after this event.

With my membership with, I was delighted to see that this story was reported in my grandmother’s local paper, the Standard-Speaker of Hazleton, PA. Aug. 14, 1975, page 18, accessed 16 June 2015.

Years later, in 1982, the corner at 899 Centre St. was sold. The new owner converted the location into three apartments with two in the upper level. Notice the front porch is still there. (By 1999, the porch was turned into a garage.) Mary was taken back to Freeland to visit friends and her "home." The tenants were kind enough to let her inside see how each had been converted to new residences. She was satisfied and thankful.

Mary would live with four of her children for three months at a time until 1990.

In 1984, her family celebrated her ninetieth birthday with her at Irene's home in New Jersey.

Happy Birthday, Mary!
My next trip to the east coast was in 1987. We saw her at Beezie's home and later when she was transfered to Marion's place. We also visited other family and places during this visit.

She also started crocheting to keep those hands active. One Christmas, my mother and I received a set of six covered hangers in two different colors. We still use them in our closets. I recently found the picture of her in action with the crochet needle. I bet her son, George, made the wooden stand to hold the hanger up for her. Great idea!

Mary still loved to cook for her family. I will be sharing her favorite recipes in future posts.

Ninety-six year old, Mary died 14 Feb 1991 in Woodberry, New Jersey, while Irene was reading Valentines orally to her. She was buried with her husband, Stephen Gabuzda, in Drums, Luzerne, Pennsylvania. 

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