The Kulak's Daughter
I've been holding this close to me, just indulging in its existence for two weeks. But now, I'm ready to share. I have my cover! Yes. It's like discovering what your baby looks like. I've looked at it again and again. It's a face I know well - on that cover - my mother's face when she was an eleven year old girl. I'd not seen this photo until 2000 when a distant relative found the photo and mailed it as a gift calendar.
At first I was afraid to look at that image of my mom as a child because it was obviously too painful for her to look it. She hid it - and I respected her pain. Gradually, however, I would peak at it whenever I visited her apartment. I got to know that little girl by asking questions. After all, I had two young daughters of my own. I was very aware of just how vulnerable little girls are.
Later, I made a copy of that photo (and of another one) and hung the two over my bed. I stared at that family until those eyes were etched into my mind. And now I know the story. And it's going to be a book. And my mom's photo - that young kulak girl - is on the cover!
I visited the Assiniboine Park Zoo here in Winnipeg last week. The coordinator at the Immigrant Centre where I volunteer had given us passes...