The Doll Her Mother Never Had
Aga was born in Poland in 1971. Her family is originally from Lithuania. In 1945, when the Soviet Union took over Lithuania, her family had a choice: either become Soviets or “repatriate” to a new country. They were given six hours to decide and to pack. They took only essentials and were put on a train without knowledge of its final destination. Eventually they settled in Poland. Though Lithuania was only 8 hours away, Aga’s family was not allowed to return to visit the relatives they’d left behind. Only when Aga was in her teens did she meet her extended family. After college, Aga visited a friend in the United States and decided to stay. She carried only a small suitcase. A few months after settling in the US, she met her future husband, Armen.
Armen was born and raised in the United States, but his life and his family are rooted in the Armenian culture. In 1915, Armenians lost their country to Turkey and lived, as Aga says, “in diaspora.” Armen’s mother’s family eventually resettled in Beirut, his father’s family in Damascus. In the 1950’s, Shushan (his mother) and Shahan (his father) met and married in Chicago. Neither had ever set foot in their homeland, but had found each other.
Today, Aga and Armen live in Chicago with their two sons, Tadeusz Yeraz (13) and Eliasz Voki (8).
Called a Soumak, it was hand-woven in the 1850’s by the women in Armen’s family.
1) Aga’s grandmother, Irena, and her mother, Alina, at 2 years of age. 1952
2) Aga’s grandmother, Irena.
1) What would you ask the owners of these objects, if you could speak to them today?
2) What lessons or ideas do these objects communicate that you hope your children will carry through their lives?
Aga answers with a poem: