What we love, cherish, wish for. What the highlights of 2017 have been.
(Suggested by Bev Baird)

Update : We are now keeping Themes for a WHOLE MONTH

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Town I Grew Up in by Joan Tavolott

I'm sorry I didn't get to participate in the last theme, so I wanted to make sure I did something for this one. These are all small, maybe around 2 1/2 x 3 inches. I used Google Street View to help me navigate the streets I grew up in.

I grew up in Jamaica which is part of the borough of Queens and part of NYC. Yes, I am a city girl and lived in this neighborhood until I was about 23 and moved out on my own. These three sketches sort of go together. I'll start with the church we went to...St. Joseph's Catholic Church which was a Polish parish. There was even a mass said every Sunday in Polish. My grandmother and mother spoke Polish to each other most of the time, but we kids never learned to speak it. I wish we had. The church is pretty from the outside, but beautiful on the inside. I always loved the stained glass windows. It was within walking distance of our house and we spent a lot of time there for mass and special church celebrations.

We lived with my grandparents and my grandmother knew almost everyone in the neighborhood. The local funeral home was diagonally across the street from the church. If there was someone from the neighborhood who had died, my grandmother knew them and we would stop in for a "visit" after mass on Sunday. The funeral home is still there, but it has changed names. We knew the people who owned it when I was living there, in fact we went to school with their children.

Directly behind the church was the elementary school, St. Joseph's, which went from grade 1 - 8. We had no kindergarten and the school had only one class for each grade. The building was bland and not at all attractive. What it did have was a big schoolyard which we took great advantage of at recess and lunch. Our school did not have a lunchroom and we walked back home for lunch every day.


  1. Hi Joan, it's lovely to see your drawings and read about the neighbourhood you grew up in. I didn't realise America had Polish people there from your mother/grandmothers time. What a pity you don't speak it. We have a friend who is third generation Polish and he was spoken to in Polish til he was 5. He wishes he hadn't been as it held him back a bit when he went to school.

    1. Thanks, Ann. My mother told us she could have sold us and we would never have known it. It is a shame that my mother or my grandmother didn't teach us. We had a very large Polish community where we lived...Polish foods (which I still make), Pollish dances, and even a Polish parade every year.

    2. That's quite some history you have Joan. Nice that a community get together for a parade each year.

  2. Sweet glimpse! Nice memories to have tucked away in your sketch book. Happy PPF

  3. Lovely sketches and great memories.


  4. Love all your buildings Joan. I especially love those bricks!!!

    1. Thanks, Lynn. I remember those buildings so well.


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