Mother's Day

Electronic mail message of 12 May 2002 from Mary Lynn Axtman, Fargo, ND

I hope you might be tolerant of this posting to the list on this Mother's Day. Wherever we might be living today, it was their sacrifices that enabled our lives today.

They were the immigrant mothers who endured long and harsh travel, usually with many and probably very seasick children to arrive at their new North or South American destinations. They were the mothers of the families who stayed in Russia and struggled to feed their children, often times without their husbands who had been deported or executed. They were the mothers who made the long wagon or walking trek to Germany so their children might escape Stalin's Great Terror in Russia only to be forced to return again at gunpoint.

If they had some education, it did not mean much as they knew their German language and the English of North American or the required Russian language in Russia was new to them. Despite being in a new country or Russian cultural system, they continued to be the link to their past German culture. They were the teachers of religious traditions, recipes handed down for generations, their familiar stories and music. Yet, they seemed to understand that the old country, the old culture was past and the family had to work for the future.

The challenges of these stay-at-home moms were great: the language barrier, a society without a welfare safety net, prejudice and exploitation, lonely lives on the cold harsh prairies of North America or in Siberia.

Despite that, they raised children to be successful and educated adults. These matriarchs lived to see their grandchildren do even better in a country that still for them was the: New Land.

Each are Special...

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