Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Anne

Dear Lucy,
Fifty-one years ago today, Anne was born right here in San Francisco General Hospital in SF.
Her name given at birth was Barbara and her mother was listed as being Danish, English and Irish and her father as being Indian (they didn't call them Native Americans then), but didn't list what tribe. Her mother had 5 other children.

She spent a month in an orphanage before being adopted by Paul and Frances Samaduroff and renamed Anne Marie Samaduroff.

From that point until she died, she was Russian, raised in a religion called Molokan meaning "milk". It was never determined whether the name came from a river near where the religion originated or whether it referred to "the milk of the Word". She never understood the religion because the sermans were in Russian. But she did learn the meaning of community from the members of the church.

On Sunday mornings when Anne was a little girl, her maternal grandmother (Baba in Russian), got up early and baked goods in her wood stove. She would then send Anne and her brother Dave (also adopted) out to the community on Portrero Hill to deliver these goodies to the old and sick members of the church. Portrero Hill in San Francisco, also known as "Little Russian Hill" was inhabited in the early 1900's by Russian Molokan's seeking religious freedom.

I think the only thing she really hated about being "Russian" was having to always spell Samaduroff a hundred times.
She would call to make an appointment and it would go exactly like this.
My name is Samaduroff. That's spelled S as in Sam...right., D, as in David...right., F-F, as in Frank, Frank. This would be repeated at least twice, and then when she arrived for her appointment, the paperwork would have it spelled wrong. And that's just the spelling. You should have heard how it was pronounced...when it was pronounced.
Most everyone who knew her just called her Anne Sam.
Had we ever gotten married "for real" she was ready and willing to take my last name.

In the last 4 years of her life she became interested in her Native American heritage though she was not able to do much research into it. She was somewhat "adopted" by the Lummi tribe in Bellingham after becoming good friends with one of the elders who was a formal tribal leader and that seemed to make her very happy.

So, happy birthday, Anne. I would have gotten you a card, but the postage would be enormous. I will have a piece of birthday cake today for you. It's the least I could do.


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