Hadas Neuman from Israel introduces her grandmother Ruhama:
When my grandmother is asked how old she is, she answers she’s 49 years old but then explains, “In Hebrew you read from right to left, consider that and you’ll know my age.”
Born in 1922, my grandmother settled in Beer Sheva, in southern Israel, where she still lives today. To this day, whenever she goes out for a walk, people stop and greet her with an enthusiastic hello, sometimes exclaiming, “You were my teacher!”, my grandmother smiles back, feeling pride that she still remembers their family names. Continue reading →
Watch grandma Muzaffer from Turkey telling to her granddaughter Berke about a happy childhood in the village, her education, about love, who brought the water for the flowers and who the drinking water. She tells also about the trust of people in each other and about the friendly community of Turks and Kurds.
Hjördís Kristjánsdóttir was born in Northern Iceland on 28th of February in 1930. She was raised up on the farm Bjarnarstaðir in the rural valley of Bárðardalur, close to the highlands. At the age of 23 she moved to Reykjavik to study handcraft and teaching, a rather bold move for a country girl at the time, especially when thinking of the conservative environment she was raised up on the farm.
In the teaser Hjördís offers us a glimpse into her everyday life in retirement home, tells about the occupation of Iceland in 1940 and the lucky circumstances that led her to higher education.
Berke Soyuer introduces her grandmother Muzaffer, who has stories to tell about the modernisation of Turkey, independence of women, own experiences and traditional Turkish stories… She is a living history book, and we, her granddaughters want her voice to be heard:
Muzaffer was born on 23 October 1923, possibly but not to be exact. The date she was born was the date of foundation of the modern Turkish Republic. She was named after the winds of triumph and glory of the independence war ambience, ‘Muzaffer’, meaning literally ‘victorious’. ‘Muzaffer’ is traditionally a male name, but could be used untraditionally as a unisex name. In the family tradition, not as a conscious decision, but maybe an unconscious one, most of the daughters have names that are popularly male, but perceived as unisex. My name, Berke, is one of them too.
Paola Scalfi was born in Milan, Italy in 1926. Her parents were both teachers, and her granddad was a respected doctor and the last socialist mayor of his village. She grew up in the fascist regime along with her 3 brothers and cousins and during the war they would steal rice from the fields, avoid the bullets, and eat solidified blood. She has a very vivid memory of the war, the songs and the sound of falling bombs.
Paola then married a handsome young journalist and moved to Paris with him where she went trough tough times and had her 3 daughters.
She now lives in Rome where she has been living for the past 50 years, being a pharmacist, the wife of a troubled political journalist, and a passionate traveller and Bridge player.
Desislava Tsoneva tells us the story of her grandmother Pena Chehlarova from Bulgaria:
My grandmother Pena Chehlarova was born in 1932 in a small village in the Balkan Mountain called Charkovo in a family of a house wife working at the field and a father having a mill who became later a co-founder of the Ethnographic Museum for Traditional Art Crafts ETAR. They were all five children (something usual at that period in Bulgaria) not really a rich family, but she managed to graduate Lady College in the city of Gabrovo and after that got arranged marriage with a man ten years older than her and a shoemaker.
Hjördís Kristjánsdóttir was born in Akureyri, Northern Iceland in 1930. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was only 3 and was put in foster care and raised by relatives, 5 siblings, in a rural countryside. She studied housekeeping and handcraft and became a teacher, alongside farm work with her late husband, Sigurgeir. She started writing a diary at age 30 and still does today, at age 86. She now lives in a retirement home in her birth town of Akureyri.