Mama’s Sad Songs

Sofia - Prescott, Arizona
Entered on February 23, 2009
Age Group: 65+
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

When I was a child in the 1930’s and 1940’s, I often heard my mother singing songs in the Kitchen where she was making bread in a large pan or doing laundry with a ringer washer or working on other chores.

My mother was a reader and I think she had many questions and thoughts about life. She seemed to lack folks with whom to talk about all these things. We lived in a rural area of Michigan.

Our father was a quiet man; an immigrant from Finland. He spoke Finnish and also English. He was a very good listener with unshared thoughts of his own.

They had seven children. I was next to the youngest.

I believe that through my mother’s songs she taught us about social justice issues (without ever mentioning the words “social justice”).

She sang songs about orphans, child labor, prejudice and racial injustice. It was from her we first learned about Mohandis K. Ghandi.

My mother died when I was 21 years old. Though we didn’t talk much about politics (maybe more about our faith) she introduced

me to diverse groups of people (though vicariously). She was a great influence on my faith and my political beliefs even today.