Ann Sherwood’s story of Sophia

I think the word that describes my mother best would have to be resilient. No matter what happened in her life, she found a way to bounce back and get through it, or around it, with persistence and determination. She was never a whiner or complainer.

My mother was born Sophia Petronella Pauw in Dordrecht, in the Province of South Holland, the Netherlands on March 24, 1918, the eighth child and seventh daughter of Rudolf Pauw Sr. and Sophia VanStokrom. An older sister had died at the age of 6 months, another sister and two brothers came after her. She was named for her mother and nicknamed Fia. The family moved to The Hague when my mother was about nine years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Europe, Uncategorized

Gladys Swedak’s story of Ruth

My mother’s story starts May 3, 1901 the day she was born on the Woodheed sheep farm in Annan Scotland. She was the youngest of Margaret Agnes Kirkpatrick Pool and John Pool’s 11 children. When she was 3 years old her mother died, of what I do not know. She was raised with the other younger children by her oldest sister named after their mother and nicknamed Kate. At about 5 years of age Mom fell and hit her head on the hearth of the fireplace and cut her forehead. She carried the scar all her life. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1900's, Britain

Nancy Young’s story of Mary Feyuan

Last October, three generations of our Lee and Young family burned incense and paper money to celebrate our Mom, Sister, Aunt and Grandma’s life, to help her on the journey to her next life – her “Home-going” as they say in Taiwan.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1930's, Asia

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

Aranka (Boby) Lukacs’ story of Aranka

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

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

Kay Rea’s story of Kathy

31 - Kathy soldier KayThere was great excitement in London and New York the day my mother was born. Not only was March 7, 1926 the day the world heard the first transatlantic telephone call, but the inhabitants at 27 Annie Street in Sunderland, England, heard the first cries of baby Gladys Kathleen Bainbridge.

Kathy made her entrance into a family that did not expect more children. Her seventeen-year-old sister Lilian helped the local midwife with her delivery. Adored by her often absent father, Kathy was raised in a very strict Victorian manner by her mother. Four years later, another surprise, her sister Audrey was born. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Britain

Irene Young’s story of Clara

29 - Clara family IreneMy earliest memories of my mother Clara are of a petite woman who never stopped moving, from the moment she woke until well past supper. She was always working, whether it was cleaning the house she shared with her husband Theodor and four children, or shopping for groceries, sewing clothes, cooking meals or baking cookies or pies for desert after dinner. Whenever I complained as a child that I was bored, she would offer me a broom with which to sweep up the dust or some other chore that needed to be done around the house.

Clara was born in 1924 in the village of Garlita, Constanta, Romania, the second child of Emma and Gheza. Emma was the eldest daughter of Magdalena and August Frank, owners of the village flour mill. The Frank family had a comfortable lifestyle and would have been considered middle class in their tiny community close to the Black Sea. Gheza was a handsome, swarthy professional electrician who met Emma when he moved into the community to work at August Frank’s flour mill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Europe

Maria Carolina de Faria Torres’ story of Rosa

28 - Rosa Maria CarolinaMy mother, Rosa Faria da Silva Torres, was born on July 7, 1923, in Moreira de Geraz do Lima, Viana do Castelo, Northern Portugal, in a community so small they called it “the place of the street”. Her family were landowners with properties that required many workers. She was an only child, but her mother was the oldest of thirteen children, so Rosa grew up surrounded by many relatives.

Rosa was a happy child with short, black, curly hair, running through her father’s fields, while the ladies worked on what would soon become their delicious “green wine”. She loved to dance during the harvest celebrations and sing during the long winter nights, when the family sat around the kitchen fire, embroidering the linen and chatting. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Europe

Roseanne van Renesse’s story of Louise

25 - Louise and Gerhard RoseanneUnfortunately, by the time I had grown enough to consider my mother a person in her own right, she had already died. I now have so many questions and there’s no one left to ask.

One of nine children born to German parents living in what was then known as Prussia, my mother, Louise Tabbert, was born on August 30, 1920, the seventh born but the sixth living. From what I’ve been able to piece together, the family, although not wealthy, were able to live a fairly comfortable life working their farm. Then the Red Army began its plundering march to expand Russia’s territory. The army helped itself to things of interest; then burned and slaughtered the rest. My grandmother’s pleas must have fallen on generous ears that day, because the entire family was spared. Traumatized and with no means to continue as before, the impoverished group picked themselves up and fled southward. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, Europe

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