This is my Oma, Amanda.
Amanda was born in 1914, in an area of Europe that is now most likely in Poland. My Oma’s life was full of triumph and strife. As a young child, her mother died. Her father remarried, and Amanda was raised by her stepmother. Amanda married my grandfather, Leopold, and the couple had 3 boys. When the front lines of World War II were approaching their home, they became refugees. Leopold, Amanda and the children eventually traveled west meeting up with extended family in a small farming town. Amanda and Leopold’s family survived the war. They lived in that small farming community, working to rebuild their lives. They applied to Lutheran World Relief for assistance and made their way to the United States.
Growing up, all of the grandchildren of Amanda and Leopold knew of our family history and celebrated the day they arrived in America. It was an easy day to celebrate – they arrived in New York on Amanda’s 38th Birthday. We had annual celebrations. I have always been extremely proud of this heritage.
I spent lots of time with my Oma. She died when I was 38. I have memories of her playing outside with us, working in the garden, spending time sewing quilts, knitting blankets, and making us lots of slippers and mittens. We always watched Lawrence Welk.
When I was a senior in high school, I spent my spring break with Oma learning how to knit. What I remember most about this time was not learning how to knit, but the fact that Oma talked about her life in Germany. This was a time in her life she kept quiet about.
I was young. I did not think to write down those stories, and like the knitting skill, the stories have slipped from my memory too. Despite my efforts, she never openly spoke about her memories. When she died, her stories went with her.
Your family wants to know YOUR story
Why am I telling you this? Your family wants to know your story and you are the best author for that story. Write things down, make videos, turn on your voice recorder and talk.
Starting this week, we will post a weekly question to answer to help you write your story. We encourage you to answer these questions, perhaps add a photo or two to the mix.