Thank You Oma Harriet
My heart is full of gratitude that I had the opportunity to know this unique and precious woman. Oma (grandma) Harriet passed away on Friday the 3rd of August, 2012. Hella Delicious was originally her idea and she has been our best supporter and kept me going through all the rough patches since we set up the site in June of 2007.
Oma Harriet took me in with an open heart as her own daughter several years ago, and she showed me the best of what a mother can be. Her undying enthusiasm and appreciation for anything her children create is astonishing (especially given some of the atrocities I have produced). She was always the first to show support for any of my projects. The first person I ever sold one of my handmade items to was her, and it was because of her delight in my photos that I started doing recipe calendars and cards. She has provided a never-ending stream of books, articles, ideas and other tid-bits which are the backbone of this website.
Delight in the diversity and uniqueness of people and their creations was what Oma Harriet was all about. Although her health prevented her from travelling the world physically she soaked up every bit of information she could get about the languages, cultures, traditions and history from every lost corner of our crazy world. Her practical, comfortable and down-to-earth nature as well as her open curiosity about everyone and everything were unbounded. She loved history, old-fashioned traditions, art, second hand goods, nature, reading, languages, people, writing letters, clearing around her brook, hay-mowing time, finding cool things for people she loved and much more.
Oma Harriet spent a lot of time in second-hand stores. Single handedly she must have recycled hundreds of pounds of second hand clothes, linens, china and many other bizarre and interesting trinkets. Our apartment walls are covered with beautiful, one-of-a-kind hangings from all around the world which she discovered in her second hand shops. If I look in my wardrobe most of my clothes have been hand picked by her. I have the coolest assortment of kitchen towels ever. My shelves are bursting with books describing traditional methods of cooking, cleaning, gardening and more which she picked out for me. Oma Harriet had such an amazing and powerful intuitive sense–I could simply think of something I needed and I would usually find it in the latest package of cool things she had discovered for us. If there were more people in the world sorting through and recycling all of our second hand stuff, perhaps our world wouldn’t be in the desperate situation we find ourselves in today.
Oma Harriet also pointed out to me various trees, shrubs, vines, birds and flowers which I might have otherwise never identified–she opened up whole new worlds to me. When I was sick with typhoid and could barely function she cooked for me and even did my laundry! She took me around to all of her favorite spots in the Catskills, and welcomed me into her world unreservedly.
I can’t really express all of the things she means to me properly. She represents the earth, grounding, enthusiasm, openness, patience, profound love, curiosity, perseverance and what it means to be a mother and grandmother. She had an amazing way with kids, she always knew exactly what they wanted. What a woman. I am still only slowly unravelling all of the ways that she has touched my life and expanded my universe.
The most precious thing about Oma Harriet was her ability to just be. She was always herself, she felt no need to put on a persona to try to impress anyone. She was what she was and she loved you for what you were. We will all miss you Oma Harriet. Thank you so much for everything and I hope that I can learn to be more like you.