My mother was born in 1911 in a tiny rural town settled on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina. When she was eight her parents and their four children moved to Windsor, Ontario, and later to Detroit across the river, where two more children were born.
My mother, Channa Veller Milner, died of a heart attack in 1981. She was in her 70s. It wasn’t until after her death that I learned she was more than what I had experienced with her. My father had shared stories about his family with me but my mother never spoke of her childhood or family experiences.
I have the last red pen Helen owed and wrote with....
My Mother Helen L. Hill always wrote in red pen. Helen was born in Ancaster, Ont. Canada, she was the daughter of a Dairy Farmer, the middle child of 3. Her parents where hungarian, her mothers mother my great grandmother, came from hungria when she was just 13 married and with child.
I never met my mother until I was 45 years old and only knew her for thirteen years. I was adopted as a child and spent a life long search for her. I found out I was adopted when I was 12 years old and made a vow that I would find my mother if it was the last thing that I ever did. After years of searching and a lot of dead ends, my vow to myself finally came true.
Bess Ready was a wonderful mother. God knows, without her and the way she dealt with others in this life, who knows how we would have turned out. That’s particularly referring to the seven of us—the six kids she raised, and dad. Ultimately we all became what we became because of her, at least the good parts of us.
My Mother Mary, no, not baby Jesus' mother, but my actual mother, who goes by Mary, told me that when she was born in South Africa, her parents asked the attending nurse to name their baby girl because they only felt confident giving her a Chinese name. So my mother was given the name she has used most in her life…by a stranger. Perhaps, in that moment when my grandparents placed that heavy responsibility upon her, that nurse raised her eyes to the white ceiling or a fluorescent light bulb in that hospital room, and she prayed for Jesus' guidance. And maybe in that nurses' heart, He spoke to her excitedly, in a moment of inspiration, “Hey, how 'bout after MY ma? Mary!”
My mother, Margaret Maureen McIntosh, began her life in a small town in Lancashire, England on 29 July, 1930. She was born to Mary (May) Elizabeth and Thomas Hope. In 1933, a year after her brother Arthur John (AJ) was born, May took the children and left Tom. This began a life of constant moving. Maureen never did find out what it was that Tom did to warrant May leaving, but it must have been an intolerable situation. Society dictated separation and divorce to be a disgrace, so May told her children and anyone else who asked that Tom was dead. Maureen knew he was not, yet she followed her mother’s wishes and never spoke of her father.
In another culture, she’d have been called ‘chippy’ or ‘cheeky’. Her family thought of her as vibrant, energetic, and fun. Brooklyn born in 1920, Ruth Berlin thrived on her East European Jewish families’ love. Her father, born Saul Gorodoevski, became Gordievsky, then Gordon, via Ellis Island’s name editing tradition. Saul (or Chaim, or Jamie), was brilliant and scholarly. A fashion designer, he overcame immigrant barriers, later taking the professional name James Gordon. Ruth’s beautiful mother Henrietta was rumoured to descend from gypsy queens.