100 years ago in 1910, this family was preparing to leave their homeland near Rovno, Russia, now known as Ukraine. My Aunt Emma gave me this picture when I was a teen-ager, and my Mother kept it, making copies for all of us first. I was around 14 or 15 when the thought of "ancestors" began to intrigue me. For years I didn't clue in to the difficult life those relatives lived while in Russia at the turn of the last century.
My goal this year is to research the country from which the Gusa Family emigrated, along with the political situation, etc, in order to write a children's novel based on the life of my maternal Grandmother, Helena, whom I never met. She isn't shown in the picture above, taken in 1913, as she was married in 1912. However, she sewed her sisters beautiful dresses, and I've always been interested in that fact, as I inherited her love of sewing.
I've borrowed a few thick volumes on Ukraine's history, and it amazes me that I haven't had nightmares yet. I'm so thankful that my great grandparents had the foresight to escape in 1910, and create a new life in America, settling in Taylor, Texas first, until they paid off their ship indenture by picking cotton, and then relocating to the beautiful Eola Hills in Amity Oregon.
It's quite the story. I'm sure there is such a story in most of our backgrounds. I long to unearth it and share it with the world.