The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

Dear MJ,

I’ve just been going over that old playing card case that we discussed on the phone last week. I do think it once held 2 decks of cards, you know a clear plastic case small enough to hold in one hand? Well I found it among your Mothers things in the storage unit after she passed away. In it were numerous Catholic Medals for Patron Saints that I can only assume came from your Grandmother Follman ( Helen Pollak Follman) as your Mom wasn’t born or raised Catholic but converted to make her Mother in Law, (Helen)  and Husband Bill, happy. Such a good soul your Mom. She realized just how precious Helen’s faith was to her and I get the feeling that these Holy Medals I’ve stumbled across were pretty precious to your Dad, William E. Follman also for the same reasons…they belonged to his Mom and his Maternal Grandmother Pollak (the Grandparents he grew up with) . Among all these medals is a little homemade folding wallet like thing made from leathette and cardboard that folds into a little envelope, it’s just tiny enough not to get lost and big enough to fit into your Daddy’s pocket as he jumped out of all those perfectly good planes when he was in the Airborne Unit in the Army during World War ll. 

Anyway, I get such a stong feeling that this little bifold wallet thingy was handmade by either his Grandma Pollak or his Ma, your Grandmother Helen Pollak Follman. When you open this tiny thing up there’s a picture of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” in a little red oval covered in clear plastic,and on the other side is a handmade form that gives your Daddy’s name and notice that he is a Catholic, and in case of an Emergency please get a Priest, all in this dark blue handstiched leatherette.  I see his name all typed out on this little thing and his handsome signature at the bottom and I’m reminded of those tender homemade stitches that he carried all around Europe. I wonder how many other boys did just the same thing in 1944, but these are relics to your family only. They hold the hopes and prayers of some pretty phenomenal Women that not only kept the home fires burning, but prayed and worked and raised Men the likes of your Father and brothers. These were some Titans and I see their handiwork everyday in you beautiful Brother David and positive light that just is YOU.

And I have to make sure they find their way into your hands with all the love and intent and strength that these women poured into them with their prayers. These are some pretty potent visible connections to your Grandma and Dad made real. Just by holding them you may step closer to the love that will always reside in them but was directed to your Daddy and handed down to you years ago. No form of Energy ever really escapes our Universe, and this is the only true Energy, our love for each other.    

Inside the box are the following medals, The Infant of Prague,     who’s prayer starts,

 “Oh Jesus, Who has said, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened.”, through the intercession of Mary Your Most Holy Mother, I knock, I seek , I ask that my prayer be granted.” 

Also inside the box is a medal with St. Christopher on one side carrying the Christ child on his shoulders, (the story was that he carried the unknown child across a stream and the child was unbearably heavy, and when Christopher reached the other side he put the child down and then realized he had been carrying the Christ child who carries the weight of the world on his own little shoulders. On the flip side of this medal is St. Florian who is Patron Saint of Firefighters and Country of Poland. That St. Florian medal puts me in mind of your Dad who at one time was the oldest firefighter in Lakewood, Ohio after 37 years. He was called “Fish”, by the guys he worked with… just like that character in T.V.’s  “Barney Miller”, he was the old wise guy of the police station that only feared his wife “Bernice” and few other things and never got twisted over anything. Those guys at the Fire Station just loved him. He had started as a fireman 1st Class on the firehose and wound up being the Engineer and driving the truck, he never took the position of an Officer because he wasn’t in it for the money or the Politics he just loved being one of the guys.   

 Then there were two tiny medals still attached to their cardboard backing, and two loose ones attached to “Safety Pins” , these all were “Miraculous Medals”. All have printed very tiny on them “Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee”.

There are three “Crucifixes” in the box. I believe they are the remains of  Rosarys that your Grandmother and Mom might have prayed over until they just fell apart in their hands. Not uncommon, for the beads to break and the Crucifixes to be saved like this. It looks like one is either brass or gold, and another looks silver or steel and finally there is one with a little screw at the bottom when opened up there is a little piece of pink paper and what looks like a dot of glue and a piece of paper that says in latin,”Lignum arboris S.P. Dominici” which means;”Wood from the tree of our Holy Father Dominic”, on the back it says “Roma” so it was special from Rome with a relic in it and I’m sure very dear to your Grandmother.

 Also there is a Locket, it looks like silver and says “made in Germany Alaapca” in tiny print inside it and with the faded green enamel circling the outside image of the Virgin with cherubs at her feet. Inside the locket is yet another medal “Our Lady of Consolation” with the “Sacred Heart” on the other side of this worn medal.

And lastly in this little plastic box is a small plastic crucifix and a tiny pocket knife/keychain that must have been your Dad’s. It has “Merry Art’s” name and address on it and I’m sure your Dad held it more than once. Anyway here’s to Mom’s and Dad’s and Grandmas…that their hopes and prayers all be answered or at least appreciated by us all. I love you.

Sheila

2 responses to “The Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

  1. Such appreciation and honor for the Follman family, my ma. This is great, and I know it must mean a lot for them to hear that someone else feels about their family and loved ones the same way they do.

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