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Janko Krotecjanko's obituary

May 24, 1946 - September 6, 2009

My Mama (Part 1)

How do I begin to address the memory of my mother? To ease into it I will break it down into three parts. Here is the first.

My mother and me

My mother and me

My Mother as a Woman

Ana Starešinič, my mama, was born on September 9. 1920 to a village midwife and a shoemaker both from the same village of Preloka. Preloka is an assembly of small land holdings and a few odd families scrapping their existence from different trades such as shoemakers and also farm workers earning their daily existence from work on neighbouring farms. Families without land were looked at as lower class – it was the same for a shoemaker’s family. It is strange how skewed our values can be. Ana’s biggest grief came from the death of her two younger brothers at the hands of the incoming government simply for being on “the wrong side” during the war.

Ana’s siblings quickly dispersed. Some married local village land owners, some searched for higher education, some emigrated to foreign lands. At age seventeen she was unceremoniously sent to work as a hired hand on a very large farm near the city of Metz, France. She quickly picked up a few words of French. Later, during my childhood, she would very proudly demonstrate her limited but proud knowledge of the French language.

Within a year and a half she was summoned by her very strict and controlling father to come back home immediately; he had arranged a marriage to my future father who was eight years her elder. Of course she obeyed without question and married my father just before the outbreak of World War 2. Three children were born during the war years and I saw the daylight just one year after the war’s end in May of 1946.

My mother needed very little for herself. Other than her babies, church and religion were the most important parts of her life. I think it gave her a reprieve from the daily grind. It was a refuge from the harsh realities of existence; it gave her an opportunity to tune out of the harassment form her mother in-law and a chance to escape the shadow of a demanding, often unkind and selfish husband. I am often very grateful that she survived both her mother-in-law and her husband, my father, by a number of years. I often wished that my parents would separate, only to learn that she did not understand the word divorce. All my mother ever wanted or needed was for the benefit of her eight beloved children — she could never do or have enough for all of them.

To be continued…

With love and affection,

Hope is a waking dream.” Aristotle

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