Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

TidBits About Donna #16 Remembering Grandma

Zuzannah Kanyuch Pavlik Sefchik (1896-) lived in Czechoslovakia, located in the heart of Europe, before she made the trek across the ocean (as a stowaway) to settle in the United States. She was only seventeen-years-old when she arrived. I don’t know much about her life as a girl, but I admire her strength and resolve to start a new life in a country so far from home – one so foreign to her. Zuzannah Kanyuch Pavlik Sefchik is my maternal grandmother.

She lived in Cleveland, Ohio, about two hours east of my Erie, Pennsylvania home. She lived there with her youngest daughter, Terry. I called her Aunt Chickie. Chickie was the youngest of eight children. Grandma’s husband, my grandfather, John Pavlik, died before I was old enough to know him. I didn’t know my step-grandfather, Mike Sefchik, well either. (Everyone called him Sefchik,)

My grandma always smelled good. She smelled of sugar and melted butter and cinnamon. And she had a joyful laugh. Her belly shook when she laughed, though she was not plump. Grandma was a baker – not by profession, but by choice. Never a day passed when something wasn’t in the oven – the smells of baked goods wafting in the air. She made cookies. Apricot cookies is what we called them. She made pinwheels filled with walnuts, poppy seeds and apricots. She made loaves and loaves of warm, fresh bread. But best of all she made donuts. The sizzle of the hot grease as the dough puffed and grew mesmerized me. She let me sprinkle the steaming donuts with white powdered sugar as they cooled on the countertop. Talk about a mouth-watering delight! When Grandma came to visit I knew there would be good things to eat. Pieroghis, filled with apricot, lekvar, or sauerkraut, and cabbage and noodles were staples when Grandma came to visit.

When I was in my teenage years, Grandma moved to Phoenix, Arizona and the distance hindered our seeing much of her then. But, Grandma never stopped baking – until she did.


February 16, 2010 - Posted by | TidBits About Donna | , , ,


  1. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this story!! And, where did you get those pictures of Grandma and Grandpa. I have never seen them. Please, please, share!

    Comment by Sanner | February 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. P.S. – I remember those things about her too, and her praying her Rosary Beads everyday! She was a very good Grandma, and I miss her.

    Comment by Sanner | February 19, 2010 | Reply

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