Photo taken in:BaranovichiYear when photo was taken:1921Country name at time of photo:USSRCountry name today:Ukraine
My mother Tsylia Vitkina, born on 25 December 1905 in Yanishki Shauliai district, Vilen region, Lithuania, and her friend. I have no information about her friend. My mother is wearing a school uniform, although she never studied at school or at cheder. My mother was younger in the family and she didn't have the opportunity to study. She had to help my grandmother about the house. My mother always felt hurt that all other children studied and she had to make clothes for them and help my grandmother about the house. This feeling never left her. Mama couldn't read or write. She learned to read and write when she was grown up. But her writing was poor and she always asked us to do this, she was ashamed of her bad handwriting and mistakes. Mama said about this photo that she was so eager to study that she wanted at least to try on a school uniform and have her picture taken while wearing it. She may have borrowed this dress from someone. Mama is 16 years old.
My mother was the youngest in the family and she didn't get a chance to study. She had to help her mother about the house. My mother always spoke with resentment that my aunt did get some education, but she herself never got a chance. She had to make clothes for the family and help my grandmother to provide for the family. My mother never got rid of this feeling of jealousy towards my aunt. My aunt could write and read in Yiddish. My mother learned to write and read when she was grown up.