The City of West Hollywood and the Russian Advisory Board invited WeHo community members to record stories celebrating their grandmothers and their strength, kindness and powerful love. Here are the heart-warming stories you submitted as part of the International Women’s Day Video Contest.
“My babushka is one of the strongest and kindest people I know. She has overcome many obstacles over the course of her life including surviving the Holocaust and still tackles each day with enthusiasm and gratitude for all the blessings in her life. I spent many summers and after school in her home where like any classic yiddish grandma she would stuff me like a turkey, sing Yiddish songs together, practice my Russian with her and play card games together.”
— Alex Goldshtein
“I’m here because I want to tell you about my grandma. She’s very kind. We cook together, she reads me books so I don’t forget Russian. If I see a toy and I want it she will always get it for me, even a thousand! “
“I live with my grandma and grandpa in West Hollywood. She helps me make my bed and she cooks food for me. She takes care of me just like my mom would and it’s a very appreciated thing to have almost a second mother when I’m in a place where I don’t know where I am.”
“My grandma’s name is Valentina. She is currently 72 years old and she lives right now in Kyiv, Ukraine, with my grandpa. I love my grandma very much and I wish I can get to see her right now. I’m very scared on what’s going on in Ukraine right now and I hope everything’s gonna be OK.”
“I’d like to take this opportunity and talk about my grandmother Espiritopatskaya. She was born in 1917 in the city of Odessa. She worked on different factories; she worked with the machinery before the war. She became a barber, and during the evacuation my grandmother worked in the hospital, she worked as a barber. She actually saved men from lice. She saved the whole family by surviving the cold, by being able to plant the potatoes in the frozen ground and was delighted when in 1944 on April 10, Odessa was liberated.”
“My grandmother was 16 years old living in Italy in this little Italian village. This man from the U.S., an Italian had sent for a mail-order bride, and my grandmother wanted to come to the U.S. so she decided to come and marry him. On the morning she was to leave her mother takes out a picture from her apron and she says to her, you know this is a picture of him, but it’s a picture of him when he was much younger. He’s an older man. Well she had to come, she’d already said she would, if she didn’t marry him, no one else would marry her and they would think something was wrong with her. So she comes to the U.S. she meets him on the dock for the first time and they get married. She has three children with him and then he dies. She meets this other man, his wife had just died, he had one daughter, so they got married — another marriage of convenience — and they had children together. Well it was years later she sat AT the kitchen table with me and she said to me, I’ve had two husbands, she said but I’ve never been loved. I’ve never been loved by a man, she said. You know when you get married make sure that you get married for love. Love is the most important thing.”