To think that when I die, Grandma Maja’s story might be unknown and unshared makes me sad and angry. I was sad when I visited Maja in the hospital the night before she died, July 6, 1969. I was angry that she was dying alone except for me. This tragic event was terribly important to me and I was indignant that a crowd was not assembled to honor her.
When the elderly die, a library and more are lost. For those like me who want to preserve the library and stories of our elderly loved ones, such passionate feelings might drive book writing and actions to preserve and share the legacy.
I never expected that once I published Grandma Maja’s book that I would be fortunate enough to receive “fan mail”. Well this afternoon shock of shocks a marvelous note came via Facebook. I am happy to share:
“Don: My great grandmother would tell me stories about her becoming a widow at age 36 with four young daughters and the things she had to do in order to survive. I have ordered your book to add to my collection and will be honored to have such a loving tribute!”……..
I responded—Dear Friend: You really made my day. In fact, I am tearing up. Yes, you appreciate your great grandma’s legacy stories so much. You cherish them. You relate to the struggle and you are in awe. A widow at 36 with 4 kids? Wow.
What I treasure in your note is your appreciating the process of her preparation for dealing with adversity. I admire your curiosity that explores what you can find about the hidden and unknown building of her character that was forged into her life. How did she prepare? What do you know about her upbringing? Her education? Her parents? Her siblings? Her family ancestors? Her culture?
I am fascinated exploring stories of guts and gumption studying Maja’s very entrepreneurial parents running big time local businesses. Her parents taught her to analyze ancestry stories that illustrate how poverty was transformed by having gumption, ambition to drive forward attacking and severing bonds of oppression holding them back.
I learned that Maja took a pass attending society high teas and such and instead made the selfless decision to begin training to become a nurse in the local hospital. I learn via photos that she cares for injured soldiers including assisting at an amputation.
Maja decided in 1922 she had the preparation and the confidence to get on an ocean liner and travel to New York and on a long train ride to Chicago.
Next, Maja decides to stay in America and leave her family behind. Then…. Maja was put to the test as an immigrant. That is where you get to read the story I have assembled.
But, now my friend,-I sure want to hear more about your story collection.
I want to hear more about the four girls and your great grandmother. I believe strongly that we who appreciate our ancestors must rise up emotions of righteous indignation at the prospect that precious stories, photos and historical treasures might be lost because we do not care enough to act.
To come to the conclusion that all the struggle your great grandmother faced and did so out of duty and selfless love for others is for naught just cannot happen. I encourage you to preserve your family history you have the opportunity to save.
Thanks for the kind words and support.