My Almost Great-Grandfather

My Almost Great-Grandfather

At the age of 17, my great-grandfather deserted the U.S. Army, packed his belongings into a rucksack and made his way by foot to Lockport, New York. He changed his name to John Gates during a stop in Ohio, married my great-grandmother in Buffalo and raised five children of his own. He didn't tell anyone--not [...]

Matryoshkas & Matriarchs

Matryoshkas & Matriarchs

Matryoshka dolls--more commonly known as Russian nesting dolls--are sets of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. Matryoshka means "little maiden" or "mother," and the dolls have become a symbol of the babushka, a strong female matriarch and central figure in the family. My grandparents are Polish--not Russian--but my grandmother always had Russian [...]