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Ruth and Margot

Margot: Child of light. Persian

Luzie:  Graceful Light. Italian

Margot was born in war-torn Berlin, Germany to alcoholic parents on a December day in 1938. The first of six children, Margot, perhaps, bore the brunt of having the most responsibility of all her siblings and enduring the most abuse.

Yet Margot would want you to understand that abuse was the norm back then and not unusual at all. Many families could tell you similar, or even worse, stories.

Margot and her siblings were always hungry. Food and money were scarce and the stories of people eating potatoes one day and the peels the next, were her reality.

One could buy cake crumbs for a few pfennig, if you could scrape together enough coin, and once her brother did just that and ate every last crumb without sharing. On another occasion, the children were warned not to touch the family’s loaf of bread while their parents went out. Margot was so hungry that the minute her parents left, she got out the knife for just a tiny bite. Unknown to her, Papa was watching and she paid dearly with a whipping.

Margot would wonder for years why her mother allowed her father to abuse her and her siblings.

When it came to baths, all six kids were bathed in the same water, starting with the youngest. When they outgrew their shoes, the tips were cut off to make sandal-like footwear. Margot’s siblings shared a room and most also shared their beds, sleeping head to feet. In Margot’s neighbourhood, children often went missing and Margot would walk with her sister for safety.

These were the days before penicillin was widely distributed, and little Margot lost a significant portion of her hearing due to an infection that destroyed much of her inner ear. This may have been a blessing in disguise as some of Margot’s happiest memories center on being hospitalized and receiving three meals per day.

Another bright light in her life were her grandparents. They had a special place in their hearts for Margot and she had a special place in hers for them.

At 20, Margot married and a year later she would immigrate to Canada with her new husband. Three years later she would give birth to the first of her two children. At that time Margot swore an oath to herself: 1. Her children would never know hunger, 2. They would never be abused, 3. They would each have their own bedroom.

As an infant, Diana’s crib was beside Margot’s bed. Because of Margot’s hearing disability, she would wake often during the night and place her hand on Diana’s chest to make sure she was still breathing.

Margot often sang, “You are my Sunshine,” after reading a story to her children at night. Diana thought her mother had the voice of an angel. “Long after me and your Dad are gone, you’ll still have each other – you’re all that you have; remember that,” Margot would tell her children.

Many years later, Margot would celebrate Ruth’s (her Mother) 80th Birthday with her in Berlin. Margot would be the reason that all her rivaling siblings would set aside their differences and come together in one place to honour their mother. At this event Margot fully came to a place of peace and forgiveness in her heart toward her mother.

Margot is playful at heart and lived out some of her childhood dreams by going to parks, riding bikes, going to zoos, gardens, amusement parks with her children and grandchildren. When Margot’s anger flares, it is usually because she is afraid for someone she cares about or feels helpless in a particular situation.


Related posts:

Our Families and Why We Are the Way We Are

Four Generations of Women – Part 1

Four Generations of Women – Part 2