Sydell Weiner’s story of Janet

janet-kay-horowitz

My mother was born on May 5th, 1917, in Rochester, New York.  Her parents both emigrated from Eastern Europe lured by the promise of a better life. Her father, Abraham Kay (born Kosovsky), came from Minsk, Bylorussia in 1911, and her mother, Edith Garelick, from Poland in 1913. They were married in New York City on December 22, 1913, when Abe was 19 and Edith was 17. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, USA

Michelle Hohn’s story of Florence

Florence Christmas Fur 2While many memories of my mother remain blurred—a wisp of her smile or a single note of her laugh—the one thing I recall vividly, are her hands; her long slender fingers, nails finely manicured and always polished in frosty, neutral shades.  And while a picture does not often reveal itself in full, the image of Mom’s hands—whether lifting a coffee cup to her lips, baking, gardening, playing piano, decorating the Christmas tree, or tucking us in at bedtime—are always clear in my mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Canada

Sandra Crawford’s story of Mary

40 - Mary teen SandraMy Mother’s story is more than overcoming the challenge of cancer and living with a disability. It is an example of the astonishing triumph of the human spirit over adversity.

My Mom, Mary Quon, never had what people would call an easy life. Her parents moved to Canada from China during World War II. My grandmother was pregnant, and Mary became their passport baby when she was born here in 1942. My grandparents had met in China, became business partners, and eventually husband and wife. They owned and operated a hotel in Vancouver on East Hastings (a.k.a skid row), frequented by prostitutes and drug addicts. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Canada

Chief Janice George’s story of Molly

39 - Molly Ross anniversary JaniceMolly Jacobs was born in 1940 in St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver. She was the fourth of nine children born to Lena and Alfred Jacobs. Through his family, Alfred was a Hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation. Alfred was a longshoreman, and they mainly lived on Capilano Reserve in North Vancouver. Her mother had been taken out of residential school after a nun hit her, and so as a child she was home to listen to the cultural teachings of the elders. She was given four ancestral names, signifying her as the keeper of many Squamish stories and traditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1940's, Canada

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

Jodi’s story of Gail

Gail Harbour 2 My mother died on a Tuesday in September of a massive pulmonary embolism. She collapsed to her knees and took her last breath at the age of fifty-three. She had been born with a particular set of challenges and had augmented those challenges with poor choices. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1960's, USA

Herb Norry’s story of Mildred

My mother died on a bright sunny Easter Sunday morning when I was six years old… It was April 5th, 1931. My brother Bob was four and my sister Kathleen was eight. That was the worst day of my life until my daughter Maryann died when she was 42 years old. She was taken to the hospital on April 5th and died six days later leaving a 12 year old daughter, Kylie, and a nine year old son Matthew. That was worse. Mother and Maryann were two of a kind. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1890's, Canada

Judith Berlin’s story of Ruth

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1920's, USA

Colleen Winton’s story of Doris

When put together, the threads I have of my mother’s life resemble a kind of open woven fabric, a shawl perhaps –  a few bright strands with lots of holes. Still it’s comfortable enough to wrap myself in and even find some warmth. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Canada

Wendy Gorling’s story of Norma

My mom, Norma Gorling, was a quiet artist, so quiet that for many years I thought she was just a mom who cooked and cleaned.  As I look back now, I see her in a different light. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 1910's, Canada

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