Category Archives: 1930’s

Nancy Young’s story of Mary Feyuan

March 23rd, 2018

June 2, 1937 – Oct 9, 2017

Yesterday, three generations of our family burned incense and paper money to celebrate our Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandma’s life, and help her on the journey to her next life. This is her story…

My mother, Mary Feyuan Lee Young was born in Guanmiao, a small village outside of Tainan, Taiwan, to a family of five brothers and three sisters. She was the youngest sister.  Her father was Headmaster of the top boys school in Tainan and her mother was one quarter Dutch.

When she married my father, Peter Teyuan Young, she was 19.  My father won a scholarship to get his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at UC Berkeley.  In 1965, she and us four children immigrated to Pasadena, California, to join our father who had a job with the State of California.  A few years later, they got US citizenship, and over the next several years, sponsored the immigration of her mother, father, four brothers, two sisters and their children.

Mom loved to cook dinner for the whole family at our home in Pasadena, or go out on Friday nights for dinner and a movie in Chinatown, or host card games with the uncles and aunts.  She loved going back to Taiwan every year to visit friends and family.

In 1974, my father took a job in the Middle East with his company. The family spent a summer in Saudi Arabia and travelled through Europe, and made plans to live there, but unfortunately by fall, Father left for Saudi and the family stayed in California.

Mom’s life was never dull.  She was a fiery and highly capable woman, who was never afraid to speak her mind, or make her demands known to others to listen to her instructions.  She was very intelligent, mastering Mandarin and English to a level of proficiency not expected of someone who only attended school to the 6th grade.  She read the Taiwanese newspaper every day to improve her skills and keep up with current affairs in Taiwan.

When she became an unmarried woman, she immediately found work to support herself and even help her children when she could, and was always there for her five grandchildren.  She eventually found a second life back in Taiwan, working as a personal assistant for a successful developer and school owner, Mr. Wu, who had been a former colleague of her husband.  Mary returned to Alhambra permanently in 2008 at his passing.

In the sunset years of her life, she developed dementia, a mental disorder that unfortunately alienated her from many of the family members.  Our sister Jean, moved into the condo with Mom two years ago to look after her, and last year Mom took her final trip back to Taiwan with our other sister Susan.  Almost exactly one year later, Mom passed away from sudden heart failure at her breakfast table.

Our family grieves the loss of our mother, sister, aunt and grandmother, and remember her as fiery as a dragon and strong as an ox, but also a mother and grandmother who loved and protected her family as fiercely as a lioness. She is forever in our hearts.

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Tim Carvajal’s story of Martha

May 8th, 2017

Miss Martha Brunner (born October, 29, 1931) is a missionary in Ecuador. She is known for establishing churches, a maternity clinic, a Christian school, and an orphanage in the Pifo valley.

Early Life

Martha Louise Brunner was born in Pennsylvania. She was the third of Rev. Henry Brunner and Mary Luceta Brunner (Hunting)’s four children. Richard and Mary were four and three years her senior; and David 7 years her junior. Her father was an evangelical minister and an architect, traits which would prove invaluable to Martha later on in her ministry. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, USA

Alessandra Olmedo’s story of Lilian

March 21st, 2017

Lilian Maria Andrea was born to Juan and Elvira Garcia on September 28, 1936 in the sleepy coastal town of Tuxpan, in Veracruz, Mexico.

Lilian was the firstborn of three children of the Garcia’s. She had a sister, Lourdes and later a brother, Juan Junior. However when Lilian was 3, Lourdes  died  aged 7 months from a fever that even in those times should have been easily cured. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Mexico

Myriam Laberge’s story of Simone

May 10th, 2016

simone-26-ansSimone Grenier was born on December 13th, 1930 in St. Prime Quebec on a dairy farm, the fourth youngest in a Catholic family of 11. She had her father Antoine’s brown hair and eyes, a light sprinkling of freckles and just the slightest gap in her front teeth which would later be replaced by dentures. Her graceful features came from her petite mother Mathilda.

During the week, Simone and her siblings walked to the local schoolhouse. In winter, they wore moccasins made by her father and thick woolen socks knitted by her mother. The entire family attended church every Sunday travelling by horse and wagon.

Mathilda and Antoine encouraged their children to be proud and cultured. They were to speak well, dress well, and to contribute to the community. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Canada

Sharon Quirke’s story of Flo

February 20th, 2016

    Florence Jeanette Dolce and Forte

Florence Jeanette Thompson was affectionately named “Shorts” or “Shorty” by her tall, charming father, Monty. She was, however, anything but short on spunk, impeccable taste or witchery intuition. Her life was a musical score that captured every mood and timbre. Pretty and blue-eyed, she loved to sing, dance, play the piano, and listen to the birds. She was quick to say, “No” and quick to say, “Yes”. She used baby talk and straight talk. You could talk to her; she didn’t mince words; she’d always surprise you. She lived in tiny backwoods cottages and grand mansions. She lost everything she owned and decorated homes with a credit card carte blanche. She lavished gifts on her loved ones. She had a doggie named Midge and one named Sir Salishan. She loved oatmeal, warm ovens, Coca Cola. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Canada

Aranka (Boby) Lukacs’ story of Aranka

April 19th, 2015

37 - Aranka BobyMy mother, Aranka Csiszar, was born on October 22, 1935, in Mezofalva, Hungary, the middle one of Anna and Frank Csiszar’s seven children: Vilma, János, Annus, my mom, Eszti, Edit, and little Ferenc, born in June 1944.

Her father was a gentle spirit who didn’t believe in violence. She remembers checking his pockets for candies whenever he came home. Her mom spoke Romanian and Hungarian fluently and did the best she could for her family.

While waging war against the Soviet Union, Hungary engaged in secret peace negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom. Hitler discovered this betrayal, and in 1944 German forces occupied Hungary. My mom’s father was conscripted to fight in the German army against the Russians, missing the birth of his youngest son. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Europe

Helen Yeung’s story of Anna

April 19th, 2015

36 - Anna at Lynnmour HelenMy mother was born in 1934, in Nanjing, China. Her father was a secretary in the National Air Force. When she was three years old, the Sino-Japanese War started, and my mother and her family moved to the western part of China in the Szechuan province. Later three sisters and two brothers were born. My grandma had to work very hard. She was very diligent and talented. The whole family drank homemade soybean drink and home-prepared dishes. All six children wore warm clothes, hats, scarves and gloves that were hand-knit by my grandma.

When the Communists took over China, the family moved to Taiwan, where my mother finished high school and university. She was good at all types of sports — softball (catcher position), volleyball, basketball (even though she was the shortest in her family) and competitive swimming. At Taiwan Normal University she trained as a teacher. She left Taiwan in 1958 to teach Chinese and Math in modern Hong Kong. My father also studied at Taiwan University and then went to work in Hong Kong as a social worker. They met through their University alumni association and in 1965 got married. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Tamra Wilson’s story of Shirley

June 20th, 2013

Shirley McManus TamraThe weeks that separate the dry winds of summer from the relentless howl of a prairie winter are few and pass quickly.  This is when my mother was born into a world falling headlong into the Great Depression.  On October 4, 1930, Shirley became the last of four children born to Rose and Ernest French of Herbert, Saskatchewan.  Her mother always called her Shirley Ann and it wasn’t until she applied for a passport in 1977 that she realized that she had no middle name after all. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Canada

Karis Cooper’s story of Marcia

June 4th, 2012

Marcia Penfold’s arrival into the world was recorded on a small piece of brown paper in curly whirly Burmese script on the 19th of November, 1935. I have omitted her middle name as she has never liked it! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

Brigida Silva’s story of Etelvina

June 4th, 2012

My mother’s name is Etelvina Lopes. She was born in Sub-district Quelicai, District Baucau, on June 8th, 1933.

My mother was the first baby of the family, born at the foot of Matebian Mountain, the second tallest mountain in Timor. Etelvina’s great grandfather was the Chief of Lacoliho Village in Quelicai. His eldest son replaced him after his death. The second, Etelvina’s grandfather, moved to Baguia to be the Chief of Ossuna Village, following the Rota, a traditional ruling tool.

Thus, Etelvina grew-up in Baguia. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia