Title: a train to America
[click on image to enlarge]
The story of this double page layout:
1987 was a monumental year in my life. It was the year my family immigrated to America. Lithuania was still a communist occupied country at the time (that's the reason I placed the Lenin stamps...I'm not in support of communism by any means ;)
My mother, a daughter of US citizens displaced to Siberia, has relentlessly returned to the US embassy in Moscow in pursuit of her right to US citizenship through her US citizen parents. There were no documents to support this, since the communists destroyed all of the documents while sending the family off to Siberia to perish. Without proof of US citizenship, she could not enter the embassy and was repeatedly thrown back by the guardsmen. My father believed that her efforts were rather foolish. On many occasions when she'd return home from yet another unsuccessful attempt, he would mock her: "Don't you know that you can't take a train to America" (hence the title of this layout). Finally, somebody inside the embassy noticed my mom's efforts to enter, and he wanted to hear her story. At last, my mom achieved victory! They were able to verify that her parents were indeed US citizens.
Our family began preparing for the big move. Since we were allowed to take only a suitcase each, we had to sell off our belongings.
What inspired this layout is the vintage tag with a mini red tag on it stating: "reduced to" (on the 1st page). "Reduced to" is the undercurrent theme of this layout since our family, our previous life, our belongings, and memories had to be reduced to 4 suitcases.
For an 11 year old little me, this was really unsettling. It felt like someone has stripped everything that is familiar, and comfortable to me. While we held our estate sale to sell off our belongings, I watched neighbors, relatives, and total strangers walk off with things that were dear to me or held special memories. It felt like watching a robbery in progress, but everyone is friendly. I felt like my identity is being taken as well. It was disturbing.
The conclusion I've come to while writing up the journaling for this layout, is that perhaps this is why I scrapbook with such passion. I believe it is to give permanence to my past, a sense of foundation and roots. I wish the same for my children: That they also would have a strong sense of foundation of their early life through pictures, words, and records of the special and the routine memories.