September 1939, war had come to our peaceful place. Father had to return to his Polish unit to fight Germans. That night, in our town, all German men, women and older children were incarcerated, ill treated, and some were even killed. The same men came looking for father, but left mother alone. The second night, they came back and began looking for things we did not have. The third night, they were back but we went into hiding in different places for three weeks, until the Soviets liberated us. One night, mother hid us in a stack of straw and covered us with her body. Yes, she would have given her life to save her boys. She was, “Above Rubies!” At that time, I was nine and my brothers were seven and five.
The London Times ran this incident many years ago to show how invaluable and unrewarding at the same time a mother can be. A boy, at his first job boasted about the amount of work he did. “I get up at half past five and have my breakfast,” he said. “Anyone else get up too?” he was asked. “Oh, yes, Mother gets my breakfast, and then she gets Dad’s at half past six.” “And your dinner?” “Oh, Mother gets that, too, and then she gets Father’s.” “Has she the afternoon to her self?” “Oh, no, she cleans up, looks after the children, and gets tea for Dad and me when we come home. Then we read the newspapers and go to bed.” “And your Mother?” “Well, she does a bit of sewing then, when all is cleaned up after tea.” “What wages do you get?” “Oh, I get ten shillings, and Dad gets four pounds.” “Mother? “Oh, she don’t get wages. She don’t do work.”
I was blessed with such a mother, and on top of it, I am married to one like her. Many, many thanks to both of them the most cordial wishes to all mothers. Yes, Mothers are, “Above Rubies.”