A Family Memoir

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This is the story of Lydia Marx Henricksen. Lydia was born in 1925 in Giessen, Germany, and came of age in the 1930s and 1940s. These were turbulent times in Germany as the nation suffered through revolution, hyperinflation, depression, political violence, and the catastrophe of World War II. While the family fortunes suffered, Lydia herself grew up secure and sheltered in a tight-knit traditional German family. She recalls her childhood and teenage years as full of fun. She was a strong, bright, happy-go-lucky girl with a thirst for learning and ambition to move beyond the secure confines of the family and the traditional role of a German woman as that of Kinder, Kueche, Kirche. Lydias comfortable life was changed when Germany began to mobilize for war. All teenagers had to spend a year in service. The family assets were seized. Fathers, uncles, and brothers were inducted into the military to serve in France, Russia, Africa, and other faraway places. Women and children had to rely upon themselves. At age fourteen, as the oldest child in the family, Lydia became the familys main breadwinner. By age eighteen, she was a single mother, and by age nineteen, she and her family began to experience the full force of the war as the battle was taken to the civilian population. Intense aerial bombings by the British and the Americans destroyed many of Germanys beautiful old cities, including Giessen, and brought Germany to its knees. Ever resilient, Lydia adapted to the new circumstances and found her way through tragedy and loss. Like so many other German women, Lydia became a war bride and, at age twenty-eight, began a new phase of her life in America. It was a difficult transition, but in America, Lydia found opportunities that would have been denied to her in Germany. She raised four children and had an exciting and successful career as a hospital administrator. At age ninety, she lives comfortably in her own home in Pacific Grove, California, a peaceful and quiet place on the beautiful central California coast
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About the author

Renate Pore is the daughter of Lydia Henricksen. She wrote this story based on extensive conversations with her ninety-year-old mother. Renate was born in Germany and lived through some of the events described in this book. When she was ten years old, Renate came to the United States with her mother and sister Elda. She became interested in history and earned a PhD in European history from the University of West Virginia. Dr. Pore taught European history as a graduate student at West Virginia University and published her dissertation, “A Conflict of Interest: Women in German Social Democracy, 1919–1933,” in 1981. Along with Betty Justice, Renate is also the editor of “Toward the Second Decade: The Impact of the Women’s Movement on American Institutions.” Dr. Pore spent most of her career in public health. She earned a master of public health (MPH) degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983. She has written numerous articles on health reform, child health, and child development. In West Virginia, she has been an advocate for health reform to expand health coverage and promote health equity. At age seventy-two, she continues to work as a health advocate for West Virginians for affordable health care. Dr. Pore lives in Charleston, West Virginia, with her lively standard poodle, Ollie.

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Additional Information

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Published on
Nov 13, 2015
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Biography & Autobiography / General
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Content Protection
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Eligible for Family Library

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