The Corner

The one and only.

Her Mother’s Daughter


On our homepage, I have a fund appeal — a pitch. National Review meant a lot to me, before I ever even thought of working for the magazine. It had a big influence on my life. It has had a similar influence on countless other lives.

One of the nice things about working here is that people tell you their stories. Well, here is one, from an NR reader and donor — a lady who lives in the Southwest:

My mother passed away six years ago. Tremendous parenting through great adversity made her children — my brother and me — a success story. She was a devoted conservative, forged by her suffering as a child in Poland, at the hands of the Soviets.

When she was eleven, the Soviets ousted her and her family from their home, in the middle of the night. In the morning, the Soviets separated the men of the intelligentsia from others. They proceeded to execute the first group, my grandfather included, by their preferred method: a bullet to the back of the head, exiting through the forehead. After witnessing my grandfather’s execution, the rest of the family was packed into a cattle car. Destination: Siberia.

My mother eventually escaped through Kazakhstan and, in time, found her way to Southern Rhodesia. In Africa, the British took in Polish refugees and my mother attended a British-run gymnasium and was educated by Polish nuns. She completed her studies and moved to England. There my surviving relatives regrouped and lived very happily for over ten years. In England my mother married a fellow Polish refugee, and gave birth to a son.

She immigrated to the United States in 1958. The following year she gave birth to her second child, a daughter (yours truly), on Halloween. Three weeks later, on Thanksgiving, my father died. He was 29 years old.

My mother persevered. She worked day and night for her children. The odds were not stacked in our favor, but we rose above expectations. My mother was thrilled that both her children earned their bachelor’s and MBA degrees. But her proudest moment was when her daughter became a political appointee for President George H. W. Bush.

An amazing woman, my mother. I will never meet another like her. I wanted you to know how I, too, was forged as a conservative. I am very much my mother’s daughter.