Woman’s life rooted in growing up on farm
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent December 2, 2012 8:50PM
Updated: January 4, 2013 6:09AM
Growing up as a descendant of the family that pioneered Green Garden Township, Hazel Silc, formerly of Shorewood and later of Indiana, took the skills from her farm girl roots and blessed everyone she could with them.
Hazel was a licensed beautician, one who often accepted her pay from her farm customers in the form of a dozen eggs or a pie. She also befriended many of those clients; in later years, they became her traveling partners. Hazel was an accomplished gardener, cook, canner and baker, especially when it came to pastries, pies and themed birthday cakes for her two grandsons.
“Mom was a very giving person,” said Hazel’s son, Ron Silc of Indiana, “and she just liked giving back to people. If somebody needed something, she was there. If it was a sacrifice, she never said anything.”
Growing up on a farm during the Depression meant Hazel always had plenty to eat, even if it wasn’t always what she wanted to eat. There she learned to garden, can, cook and bake, skills she continued to practice and refine for most of her life.
“She canned tomatoes, peaches, cherries, carrots, beans — just about everything that came out of the garden, and we had a huge garden,” Ron said. “My father even had a greenhouse, so we had tomatoes year-round. But she also grew beautiful flowers and they were a very important part of her life.”
Being an only child gave Ron the unique opportunity to spend much time with his mother. He always felt her unwavering support. This was especially true during the years he took accordion lessons, from the time he was 6 years old until he was in early high school. Often when Ron practiced, Hazel accompanied him by singing upbeat swing songs from the 1940s and 1950s and popular songs from decades earlier, such as “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “Down by the Old Mill Steam.”
Hazel showed her love in other ways, too.
For instance, one of Ron’s aunts lived next door. Each day at 5 p.m., even after moving to Indiana and up to the week before Hazel’s death Oct. 11 at the age of 91, Hazel would call her and the two would catch up on each other’s day.
Because of Hazel’s example, Ron has maintained regular contact with his aunt, even if he is unable to call every day.
“My mother left me a very strong value system for me to live up to,” Ron said. “I don’t think there is anything more important than that.”
Contact Denise M.
Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.