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Pauline

Pauline Milec Shuster was my stara mama (grandmother).  She was born to Slovak parents, Paul and Maria Milec, on a Friday the 13th, 1913, in Soljani, Croatia. As a young girl, she moved to Pivnica in the autonomous province of Vojvodina in what was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, then Yugoslavia, and is now in northern Serbia.

She married my grandfather, Jerry Shuster, in 1936, and despite leaving Pivnica for Canada in 1938, she continued to grow many of her own ingredients and to bake the Slovak delicacies for her family.  The daughter of a baker, she learned how to make delicious Slovak cakes, breads, cookies and pastries, and she passed down her love of baking to her five children, her eleven grandchildren, and her thirteen great grandchildren. Pauline died at the age of 94 in 2007.

Ďakujem vám a Boh ti žehnaj, babička.

Her first grandchild, Tonya

Pauline’s Essex County, Ontario.

Vojvodina

26 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2010 12:01 pm

    I’ve seen the baby picture but I don’t remember the other two. Gramma was so pretty!

  2. August 4, 2010 12:19 pm

    She was. I recently spoke to someone who remembered her from the 1950’s, and she said the same – how beautiful Pauline was. She remembered her jet black hair, her sparkling eyes and her smooth skin.

    Someone else also recalled her brother Andy. She said he was the most handsome man she has ever seen, and she last saw him around 1950! I have some pictures of him, and he was very striking, and quite the ladies’ man.

  3. Diana permalink
    January 18, 2011 4:10 pm

    So you do live in Essex county now or not?

    My father knew your grandparents, he was also born in Pivnice. He said Pauline lived to be very old. Jerry sold real estate did he not? My father ended up escaping to Canada in 1948, coming to the same place in Essex County, Ontario.

    Small world huh. I came across your site because I have books in Slovak I want to get rid of. The Slovak church seems to have closed and I cannot get a hold of the Slovak center in Windsor.

    • January 18, 2011 4:22 pm

      Hi Diana, very small world! You are right, Pauline lived to the age of 93, and her husband sold real estate (among other things). Do you know their children too? Many still live there. I live in Virginia, but we are frequently back to Essex Co. What kind of Slovak books do you have? Tonya

  4. Diana permalink
    January 18, 2011 5:23 pm

    There are 10 books, one bible in Slovak, the others are on the history, some are picture books of the old farms, then ones with full page photos of the churches, women in costume etc. They are all hard cover. When do you plan to come here next, maybe you can come by and take them off my hands LOL! The library won’t take them otherwise they go on yard sale.

    I never knew the Shusters, my father knew them well. He is still alive pushing 85 but very ill now. He said Jerry did many things too LOL! I am trying to learn Slovak but it’s not easy. I need to find a good Slovak-English grammar book but that’s very hard. I speak ok German since my mother is Austrian but it needs some help too since I don’t speak it much these days, only when I go to see the relatives. I’m not having much luck finding any Slovak people or community areas here. I did order one Slovak grammar book from Chapters but I still require more explanation or does one just memorize all the inconsistencies LOL!
    Diana

  5. Diana permalink
    January 18, 2011 5:41 pm

    PS…..my father has an extensive photo album from his youth, many photos from the old country, post cards and of people he knew. There’s also the original article in the paper when my father arrived here in 1948 with a photo containing your grandparents too, I think they were his sponsors.

    You have my e-mail address, write me there and we can talk more. If you like, I can send you some digital copies if you don’t have these things.
    Diana

    • Ján permalink
      December 1, 2011 3:10 pm

      Diana, chcel by som Tvoj mail, Tonya ho už má. Robim na genealogii, rod Schuster-Šuster,

  6. March 1, 2011 4:45 am

    Hi, I just found yout blog and I am going to read every bit of it 🙂 Zelam pekny den.

  7. March 13, 2011 10:12 am

    I just stumbled on your blog when searching for a Slovak garlic soup recipe. What a wonderful site! I’m 2nd generation Slovak Canadian. My grandparents all came from Eastern Slovakia, and am wonderfully proud of my heritage. I am always looking for Slovak cooking recipes. Thanks for posting!

    • March 14, 2011 9:14 am

      Thank you for the compliment and for taking the time to comment. I took a peek at your site too, and love your eye for design! I’m linking to it here from my blog.

  8. March 15, 2011 3:46 pm

    Thanks for the listing in your blog roll. I have already shared your site with my mom, a cousin, and my aunt. It’s a great blog and from one ‘Slovak’ to another, I appreciate the stories and recipes.

    My post tomorrow is about a bit of architecture in Eastern Slovakia. You may also like these two posts, and I plan to write more about places I’ve visited in Slovakia…

    Bratislava patios: http://safaffect.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/sophisticated-patios-with-a-subtle-marketing-pitch/

    Panalek apartment blocks: http://safaffect.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/a-facelift-of-political-architecture/

  9. September 29, 2011 12:56 am

    I never knew the Shusters, my father knew them well. He is still alive pushing 85 but very ill now. He said Jerry did many things too LOL! I am trying to learn Slovak but it’s not easy. I need to find a good Slovak-English grammar book but that’s very hard. I speak ok German since my mother is Austrian but it needs some help too since I don’t speak it much these days, only when I go to see the relatives. I’m not having much luck finding any Slovak people or community areas here. I did order one Slovak grammar book from Chapters but I still require more explanation or does one just memorize all the inconsistencies LOL!
    Diana

    +1

  10. Horvat permalink
    November 4, 2011 8:55 am

    imaš li još rodbine u Soljani

    • November 4, 2011 10:30 am

      Jeste li bili tamo posjetiti? Želim ići. Prepoznajem svoje prezime – oni bili tamo Mislim da kad Pauline je previše.

      Have you been there to visit? I would like to go. I recognize your family name – they were there I think when Pauline was too.

    • Ján permalink
      December 1, 2011 3:12 pm

      G. Horvat, trebam Tvoju adresu, Pivnice

  11. Susie permalink
    May 22, 2012 8:24 pm

    I wonder if your grandma and my grandma knew each other? My Grandma was born Pivnica and immagrated to Canada in 1936 settling in Harrow in Essex County. There is a large population Slovaks here.

    • May 22, 2012 9:02 pm

      I am sure they did! I have a picture of all the Slovaks in Harrow from the 1930’s that I will have to share with you. Tonya

  12. Michelle permalink
    March 7, 2013 9:39 pm

    Tonya – My father is from Soljani and he came to NJ, where I live now. His father’s name was Stjepan Markota. Perhaps they knew eachother. I too love to cook and am exploring my ancestry through food. This is amazing!

    • March 8, 2013 5:15 pm

      Hi Michelle, I wonder if they knew one another too. I have some notes of family and friend names and will check on your father’s name. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone else from Soljani before – it has fewer than 2,000 residents! Tonya

  13. Michelle permalink
    March 8, 2013 5:19 pm

    Tonya – Yes, I know, every year that town shrinks. His mother’s first name was Manda but I am unsure of her maiden name. I can try and find that out for you. -Michelle

  14. Donna permalink
    March 30, 2016 3:01 pm

    I purchased Paulines Pierogis at a Sam’s Club in St, Petersburg,FL. I found them absolutely delicious. They are not stocking them now (March) but would like to continue to buy them. Can you advise me where to go to buy them. Thank you for your help.

  15. July 20, 2016 9:58 am

    Hello Pauline, fascinating information, I am a london designer and researching eastern European bakeries from the early 1900s and am looking for images rather like some of yours, I was wondering if we could talk and maybe I could license them ? john@adcreative.co.uk

  16. October 23, 2016 2:11 pm

    Hi Pauline – Thank you! – I did reply as well via email- very kind of you to reply!

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