Pears on a Willow Tree

by Leslie Pietrzyk

I didn't want to stop reading this book once I had started. I found the story of four generations of women in a Polish-American family very moving and totally absorbing.


We were running around all the time, and I wore your apron over my bathing suit in the kitchen, and you braided the four pieces of dough. There was a trick, you said, a special way so that the four pieces came out even. You brushed egg on the top and I started to sprinkle seeds, but you grabbed a handful and said, 'Never skimp on poppy seeds - more!' So I threw a handful, but I missed and seeds scattered on the floor, and we laughed so much my mother came into the kitchen, and she threw a handful, and you told us how Great-Grandma used to make the four-way braid and say, 'Here's Wanda and here's Joane and here's Helen and here's Marie, all my four girls,' and so she called it the four-girl cake. And you said, 'Here's Amy and here's Ginger, and here's me and here's Ma,' and I was part of the four-girl cake. It was that summer, remember?


Wild Swans by Jung Chang

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