Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Matriarchs--Daisy, Minnie, and Yetta

My mother and grandmothers are gone, sorry to say, but they live on in my heart and in my blog! Happy mother's day to these matriarchs of my family.

At left, smiling broadly, is my mother, Daisy Ruth Burk (nee Schwartz), on her wedding day in 1946 in New York City. She's wearing her fave Persian lamb coat and getting ready to go to Bermuda on her honeymoon with Dad (Harold Burk). Daisy married at 26 and had three much-loved children. She had a passion for reading, was an ace typist, enjoyed crocheting. Cooking wasn't her strong suit but she had a few signature dishes that we children relished (like junk soup and blintzes).  

At right is my maternal grandma (Daisy's mom), Hermina (Minnie) Schwartz (nee Farkas), on her wedding day in 1911 in New York City. She married Theodore (Teddy) Schwartz, who was then selling insurance (?) to immigrants, and after her son Fred and her twins Daisy and Dorothy were born, she and Teddy opened their own grocery store in the Bronx. Minnie was an expert seamstress and the back of her embroidery pieces looked just as good as the front. She was also a great cook: Her native Hungarian dishes (like strudel) were legendary in the family.

At left is my paternal grandma, Henrietta (Yetta) Burk (nee Mahler). Yetta, born in Latvia, married my grandpa Isaac Burk in New York City in 1906. Yetta had four children: Mildred, Harold (my Dad), Miriam, and Sidney. She crossed the border to and from Canada following Isaac for about five years as he got carpentry work in Montreal. Thanks to my cousin Lois, I know a bit more about Yetta: She was a lively woman who knew how to laugh, she had a dog named Blackie, and she was particularly close to her sister Ida Mahler Volk.


  1. Your mother looks so joyful - radiant! - in this photo! An interesting thing about your grandmothers' photos is that the angle from which the photos were taken seems to be similar. And we see youth and age, both beautiful in their own way.

  2. Thank you so much for your comments, Nancy! This is my favorite photo of Mom because her joy is written all over her face. The photo of Yetta was taken at the wedding of her younger daughter, Miriam, so in a way, all these photos are "wedding" photos.

  3. Gorgeous photos and lovely words about the matriarchs. Your mother was not alone in preferring other occupations to cooking. I wonder if it was one of those pendulum swings - perhaps in reaction to her mother's superb skills?

  4. Susan, you could be right about the cooking, I'm not sure. But I DO know my mother was not interested in sewing because her mother was so good at it! She had only home-sewn clothing as a child and when she grew up, wanted only store-bought clothing.