Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Give Their Face A Place ~ 21st Edition of Smile for the Camera

My decision to honor my mother, Elfriede Haf and my maternal grandmother, Lieselotte “Oma” Haf, the women in my history, was not difficult at all. Both of these women have made such difference in my life as well as in so many others lives. This is a great opportunity for me to share their history and for them to see what a positive influence they continue to have in our family.

My Oma has lived thru some very difficult times in her lifetime. She never knew her father and sadly that missing piece from our family line is a link none of us will probably ever know about. When she was very small (unknown dates) her mother, my great grandmother Margarete Kaiser met and married, Peter “Opa” Saule. Opa adopted my Oma, changing her name to Lieselotte Saule, she would later marry Adalbert Haf. My Oma is 96 years old and still lives in Germany.

1933 in Augsburg, Germany my Oma gave birth to my beautiful mom, Elfriede Haf. In 1940 Oma gave birth to my twin uncles, Adalbert and Helmut, they have both since passed, strangely enough from the same illness, 10 years apart. This was very difficult for my Oma to endure.

In1944, during WWII, the bombing increased in Augsburg to it’s heaviest period. All school children were evacuated, separating my mom and other children from their families for a year. The children were transported to farms and villages for their protection. Mom remembers how much she missed her family, wondering when she would see them again or if they even survived the bombings. Oma and the boys were taken to air-raid shelters where they remained safe. Many homes were destroyed during the bombings, however, my Oma's home survived with minimal damage. Mom remembers the day her father came to take her home; transportation was no longer in effect due to the advancing invasion; they walked from the village to Augsburg taking a day and a night, a time she will never forget!

Oma has always been so close to my heart, she is the one that started me on hot peppermint tea when my tummy was upset...she’s also the one that let me have sips of ‘Blackberry Schnapps’ and German eggnog! She always made sure that she would send me German goodies every Christmas, once mom and I came to the United States. Oma made a major difference in my life and gave me strong German roots.

Once here in the United States, there was no holding mom back! In 1958, mom started working for Montgomery Wards in Monterey, California. This was the start of a lifelong career in Women's Fashions and she was darn good at it too! Mom was also an excellent seamstress and made all of my clothes for many years.

In 1960, mom was transferred to the San Jose Montgomery Wards Department Store, where she climbed the ladder of success quickly. She was the first woman ‘Merchandise Manager’, and then she was recruited to set up the Western Region on the ‘Computerized Merchandise Replenishment System’. Mom was then promoted to the first woman’ District Merchandise Manager’ and then on to the first woman ‘Regional Manager', directing 41 stores. At one point mom was the ‘Merchandising Director’ for the Central and Northwestern region, which is Northern California, Oregon and Washington, while simultaneously raising me. I don’t know how she did it, but she was always there for me, the best mom in the world. In 1990 she was transferred to the Southern Region, entailing the Southern California and Nevada area, until 1994.

I remember her having to travel quite a bit between New York, Chicago and various parts of the United States, I was grown and on my own at that point.

Mom always lovingly referred to Montgomery Wards as "monkey wards"!
Mom retired in 1994

~ Here's to giving your Faces a Place, Mom and Oma, the women in my family history ~


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The word prompt for the 21st Edition of Smile For the Camera is "Give Their Face A Place." March is Women's History Month and you are asked to picture women back into history. The unknown, known and unsung women who are often the foundation of our family history. Give Their Face a Place. The interpretation is yours.

This was written for the 21st edition of Smile for the Camera: Give Their Face A Place, to be hosted by footnoteMaven and celebrate woman back into history.



Jack Coffee said...

Great job with the photo layout! The Bear Flag was a favorite hangout while I was a student studying German at the Defense Language Institute at Monterey in 1965. Many of us went there not only to enjoy the friendly environment but, also to practice our language skills with the staff.


Mary said...

This is a great tribute to your leading ladies!! I love the scrapbooking page.
Mary in AZ

Janet Iles said...

Thank you for sharing these reflections on two remarkable women, your Oma and your mother. They are two very special women who deserve to be honored.

Gini said...

Thank you all for visiting and your wonderful comments. Mom and Oma are special ladies in my life.

Jack, I wonder if maybe you may have ever run into my mom, she too went to the Defense Language Institute! Between to the two mentioned, I bet so!