Happy Birthday Baba

Today is Baba’s birthday—a day we never celebrated because we were told she did not know the day of her birth, so we observed the day on Mother’s Day. Maybe she only remembered the month as May. Still, I don’t understand why my father did not know the specific date since I have found several documents, including a journal written by her daughter, stating that my grandmother was born on May 15, 1886.

When I wrote my Mother’s Day tribute to her last week (Baba- A True Survivor), I forgot to mention this detail since I never knew the specific date until I uncovered it via Ancestry.com and my aunt’s journal. This lack of knowledge makes me think that even her own children did not celebrate the day—a thought which I find to be so sad.

I think back on my son-in-law’s birthday last week. His four-year-old son was so excited to celebrate his dad’s big day. He told my daughter what kind of cake to make or buy, and was quite insistent that they have balloons and goody bags.

Well, the goody bags did not happen, but when my daughter suggested they get party hats instead, my grandson happily acquiesced. They decorated the cake, added the candles, and after dinner, they all put on their pointy birthday hats and sang to Dad. What family does not enjoy celebrating each other’s day?

When my father was growing up, I wonder if his family celebrated any birthdays. Did they invite their friends over, did they just have a small family party, or were their birthdays just another day? I just cannot believe they ignored the birthdays of any of them. So why didn’t Dad know?

This evening, when I have my dinner, I will lift up my glass and toast to my grandmother, Efrosinia Petrovna Wardamasky. Happy Birthday, Baba!




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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