I never learned until after my Canadian mother’s death in 1999 that her Ukrainian forebears, the Huchulaks and Tokaruks, had homesteaded Alberta’s western plains at the turn of the 20th century. In fact, she never even mentioned their names.
Ukrainian? Not a nationality when her family arrived. The Canadian censuses of 1901 and 1911 categorized Ukrainians, Austrians, Bukovinians, Galatians, Ruthenians, Hungarians or Russians based on their passport registries because the ancient Ukrainian lands had long since been divided as spoils by surrounding nation-states.
My mother became an American citizen in Seattle, moved to the Far East, and then to the U.S. East Coast. Impatient with Mother’s evasiveness about her past, we never understood that it was based on fear. With no sense of her heritage, she felt she walked through life on quicksand.
Have you ever thought you really knew someone, then learned that you didn’t?
How did you feel when you learned you were wrong?