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Before they were Mothers

Yesterday, the day before Mothers' Day, Linda and I were thinking about our mothers BEFORE they were mothers. Linda's mother Mary Batastini Hickson was born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on August 3, 1913. The first image is a formal family photograph circa 1916: Mary's parents Giusepina and Giocondo were both born in the Garfagnana Region of Italy. Her sister Nellie (standing) was six and a half years older.

The next two images are when Mary, class of 1935, was in training to be a nurse at Holyoke Hospital School of Nurses. The fourth image is Linda's mother and father, Mary and George, in 1938 on board the Italian ocean liner, SS Conte di Savoia. They had come to say goodbye to Guisepina who was going back to Italy for the first time to visit her family.

My mother Maritza (born Marija) Leskovar Morgan was born on November 20, 1920, in Pregrada, in what is now Croatia. She was about two years old when her mother died, and her father, Joseph, put her in an orphanage on the Black Sea. Marketa Zalcik, Joseph's second cousin, got my mother out of the orphanage by marrying Joseph who had been courting her, although she was in love with someone else. In 1930, Joseph and Marketa, now known as Greta, immigrated to New York City. My mother spent much of the time with the Zalcik family in Korycany, now in the Czech Republic. (Greta sent her there away from Joseph's harsh discipline.) She graduated from high school in Brno, a nearby city. First image: my mother circa 1926. Next image: a 1933 photograph of my mother sitting between Cyril and Antonin Zalcik. Greta's sisters are standing. Note: There are accent marks over the "z" and "c" in Zalcik and one over the "c" in Korycany.

The third image is my mother, a student at Cornell University, where she met my father, Norman Charles Morgan (fourth image).

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