Alessandra Olmedo’s story of Lilian

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

Debra Ensign’s story of Julia

26 - Julia and family DebraMy mother, Julia Mary Lorenz Neher, was born on October 31, 1920, in Bukovina, Romania, the illegitimate daughter of a 21 year old peasant girl named Theresa Paul. Before mom’s birth the Paul family were making plans to immigrate to Canada, specifically southern Saskatchewan, where mom’s grandfather had established himself some ten years earlier on a homestead near Wood Mountain. Their immigration process took longer than normal, because Theresa’s sister Rosa was disabled, and the Canadian government forbade invalids to enter Canada without proper documentation. The government also required that the family produce a signed petition guaranteeing that the Hungarian community would financially support Rosa. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Europe

Suzanne Brazeau’s story of Vassilka

15 - Vassilika Yannis SuzRThe Macedonian village, Zeleniche, under Greek rule, welcomed the birth of Vassilka Shikleff around 1915. She was the third of four children born to Magda and Ristos Shikleff. Their eldest child, Alexandra, would thirty years later bring Vassilka to Canada. Their second eldest, brother, Turpche, would be cut out of her life when she learned how he had neglected and abused their mother. Her youngest brother Yanni . . . yeah, well, Yanni . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Europe

Kathy McColeman’s stories of Allison and Joan

14 - Allison and KathyMy mom was born Allison Jean Swift in Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, on November 28, 1914. Her father, Arthur Swift, worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway and mother Ethel worked in the home. They lived not too far from the station, in a small house with a porch and yard. Mom was an only child. Just before it was torn down, Mom and her dad went to the old railway station and liberated a beautiful carved table that was going to go for scrap. It was her pride and joy, with a hand carved pedestal and four large curved and carved feet on wheels. I have it in my dining room today, and it always evokes memories in me of her clandestine adventure. Arthur Swift died on November 27, 1930, and Ethel died on May 17, 1937. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, 1920's, Canada, USA

Esther Chase’s story of Leah

09 - Lenke EstherOur little house on Hoskins Road in North Vancouver was one of the first cabins built in the old-growth forests of the North Shore. There in the kitchen sat my mother – jet-lagged from her long flight from Australia, holding my newborn daughter in her arms, cooing and muttering a mixture of Yiddish and Hungarian blessings over her first precious grandchild. I was stunned by the vision of the immense cultural changes we three women had witnessed. My mother had grown up in a small village in Czechoslovakia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. They had no electricity; she never learned to ride a bicycle, let alone drive a car! And here was her grandchild on the threshold of a fantastic, unimagined digital age. My amazing mother had lived to see this earth-altering shift, which meant surviving through two world wars and the Holocaust. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Europe

Leanne Jijian Hume’s story of Dominique Δ

My Biological Mother (Bio Mum), who now call herself Dominique, was born May 31st, 1954 to a father with a Swiss father & English mother, and a mother who had a French from France father and a Native Canadian mother.  She was born in Chicoutimi, Quebec. When asked about her childhood she will tell you that she’s sure there must have been some good memories from when she was small but that she can’t really remember any of them because they are so easily weighed down by the negative memories. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1950's, Canada

Laura speaks in her mother Ofelia’s voice

It was the year 1950 in a town located in the West Center of Mexico. It was a small city  in  a semi dessert area that was a rich place because in its valleys  there were  tin and copper mines. Here,  French and Spanish immigrant found their new home after exiled from Europe in eighteenth century. I was born as a second child of a wealthy family, and I carried with me their traditions and heritage. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1950's, Mexico


With few facts and fewer memories, it is not easy to paint a comprehensive picture of the totality, the gestalt of a person. Be that as it may, the following is an attempt to present, as clearly as is possible, a straightforward, honest depiction of my mother, unclouded by sentimentality and bias. These are the facts, as I know them, as pertain to my mother’s life. Let the facts, few though they may be, speak for themselves.

Note: as this is not my story, but my mother’s, I use the pseudonyms Dor for my mother, and Demo to denote my father out of respect for their anonymity. As far as I know, they are both still alive and would prefer this. That my father is being as forthcoming as he now is about mother and the details of our lives together is a truly wonderful thing, and I thank him for that. After a life of denial, it can’t be easy, and is testament to his good character. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Anonymous, Australia

Karren Dixon’s story of Bernita Δ

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, USA

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