My Grandma- “Baba”- Growing up in White Russia

This posting is also from the other journal. This one is about my Russian grandma.  It is not fine literature, but rather, the story of her early life exactly as written on February 14, 1975.

Mother was born on May 15, 1886 in a small village- Brantseva- in White Russia.  Mother had 1 sister, Anna and 2 brothers, Rafael and Foama. 

Mother had a nice childhood and wished we all could now live like that.  She lived in a small village on a farm.  Her father had 7 milking cows, 4 horses- nice beautiful horses- and two were stolen by thieves.  They had 10 chickens, 4 big pigs and never had to buy meat at the butcher shop.  Had fresh eggs, milk every day- also had fresh vegetables from their garden.  They also grew their own wheat and baked rye bread every week- about 6 large loaves.  On holidays they baked white bread with wheat flour, 6 eggs, and butter which they made themselves. They bought sugar only.

When mother got bored on her farm, she went to work for a rich farmer who had 30-40 acres of land.  They used to hire poor farmers daily- paid them very little and they had to bring their own bread. The rich landowners were very cruel to their hired help- they almost worked for nothing. 

Now things have changed.  If you work, you eat; no work, no eat.  That is their new policy at the present time.   There is nobody on welfare.  That is Efrosina Wardamasky’s past life in White Russia.

I found it interesting to read the details of what my grandmother recalled of her childhood- specifically the number of animals on the farm and the number of eggs in the bread.  White bread was apparently a treat preferred over wheat.  Now we are guided toward wheat as a healthier option.

She had fond memories of that early life and wished her children could have experienced that same contentment.  It was sad to learn how that dream was lost once they left New Jersey, but she could not have foreseen a war or Stalin’s purges in her crystal ball. It was also interesting to hear her thoughts on work and welfare.  It would have been interesting to have heard her take on American politics today!

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About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as ancestry.com, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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