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A Grandmas Story

There I was propped up on a comfy, paisley couch. The sweet aroma of coffee lay
in a blanket over the bright room. She sat perfectly still, hands on her lap. Her smile was
warm and welcoming. Edith Mantia was born on June 1st, 1931. She moved from
Canada to America as a young woman, and is now my grandmother.

“Cold. Very cold.” She replied when I asked her about Canada. Edith lived in the
north near Quebec. “Many nights we would have the northern lights reflect off the
white snow.” She grew up with one brother and one sister, both born in Scotland.
“My mother was Scottish and my father, English.” She ate a lot of European foods, and
lived amongst many French. An Indian reservation, also, wasn’t too far from where
she lived. One of her favorite foods was her mother’s homemade blueberry pie. “She
would get it just perfect, you know, where the crust was flakey.” Edith told me how
they’d go out to the bush (woods) and chop down a Christmas tree. She chuckled,
“The snow was piled so high that our boots would get stuck in the snow as we
walked.” She even said that out her window, during a full moon, wolves would
appear on the rocks and howl.


Turning into a young woman, Edith moved to southern Canada to visit with her
sister. She spent some time there, when her uncle invited her to come live with him
in the states. He would often brag about it there, and how great it was. She said,
“When he talked about it, he made it sound like fairyland.” She was unsure at first,
but then decided to give it a shot, so she went to live with him in Joliet, Illinois. Edith
exclaimed that her uncle was like Santa Claus. He would take them to do all sorts of
things. After a while, her uncle moved to Los Angeles, California. She could have
come with, but she stayed in Illinois. Edith bought an apartment, and got a job at a
bakery. It was kind of lonely for some time. She then moved on to working at a
Marshall Fields, met up with some girlfriends, and moved in with them. One
time she went to a dance where she met a man named Frank Mantia. A handsome,
Italian man. They started dating and fell in love.


Soon, Edith became homesick, so she told Frank. He drove her to the bus station,
where he gave her one last kiss goodbye. After enduring the cold again, for a couple
weeks, she was surprised to hear a knock on the door. “I wasn’t doing much when I
heard this knock on the door,” she glanced at the ground, and smiled, “and there was
Frank standing in the snow asking me to come back.” They drove up to Niagara Falls
where they decided to get married. Edith ended up working at the Caterpillar
(factory) as an office woman, later getting married in a beautiful church. They had
five children, and have, ever since, lived in Joliet, Illinois.


Edith Mantia lives in Joliet. She is now 79 years old. My Grandpa Frank is no longer with my family anymore, but I like to
remember him through my grandma’s stories. Even though she thinks she’s old, to
me, she’ll always be that young, carefree women in her story. Always.





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