For all eternity America is indebted to the Immigrant Mother, whether she was Croatian, Slovenian, Italian, Jewish, Polish, Austrian, Hungarian, German, Russian, English, Greek, Bulgarian, Czech, Irish, Slovak, or Ukrainian.
Born in the old country, she usually married at a young age, the young boy with whom she worked in the fields. While still a young bride, and sometimes with a child, she remained and waited, while her man left for America, that distant land filled with promises of a better life.
The days, months, and sometimes years passed slowly, while she patiently waited for word from her husband. Finally, when the letter came with the passage fare for the long boat ride to America, she gathered up her few possessions and children, and boarded the ship to join her husband. She found him working in the steel mills, brick yards, coal mines and on the railroad; and she found him living in a shack shanty, railroad car, or even in a tent. But at least this was a start, a foundation for a new life, and here in America, by his side she prepared for the years ahead.
Our country was young; it needed laborers; and she gave to America, five, six, or more children of her and of her soul. While her husband worked in the bitter cold of winter, or in the blistering heat of summer, in ditches laying sewers, and deep in the ground mining coal or iron ore, she worked from early morning to late at night, cooking at a coal stove, washing her clothes with a washboard, and heating the water in a big copper tub on that same coal stove. At the same time she took care of the children, preparing breakfast, making lunches and sending them to school.
Now, the freshness of young womanhood is gone. By the flickering oil lamp she sews and irons clothes late into the night. She scrimps and saves to dress her children decently, while she wears an old dress and stays home. Her children must have an education, so that they may be respected and amount to something someday.
And then at last, when her children are grown, as her cup of joy runneth over, we see how want, deprivations and hardships have taken their toll. All worn out, her bones aching from so many ills, she lays helplessly in her sick bed, and her children gather round her. She turns to kiss them and to bless them-and then, she is gone.
She is the unsung heroine and pioneer of America. No statue can be built high enough; no marble is precious enough, with which to sculpture a fitting memorial to the Immigrant Mother.
She, who with her breasts nurtured us, with her arms raised us, with her ideals inspired us, with her tears washed us clean, with her devotion saved us, and then on the altar of love, laid out her worn spent body. And from her place in heaven, she sends down her blessings on America, for what America has offered to her children in this great land. May the people of America never forget what they owe to that sweet and blessed soul, the Immigrant Mother of us all.
Reprinted from the Tremont Area Missile, Cleveland, Ohio
The Immigrant Mother Statue
This limited edition bronze maquette of “Immigrant Mother” by the late Joseph Turkaly is a scale model (16”) of his famous life size statue that has been installed around the world; including Croatia, Argentina, Canada and the U.S.
Plans call for it to be included in the new Croatian Cultural gardens. Joseph created this piece specifically to raise funds for the garden more than five years ago.
All the proceeds from the purchase of the limited edition bronze (100) and plaster castings go to the garden fund. Each purchase will further the efforts of the committee that is dedicated to making the garden a reality.
Statue Order Form
To order The Immigrant Mother Statue, please print, fill out, and mail the following form to 34900 Lakeshore Blvd. Eastlake, OH 44095. Allow 8-10 weeks delivery for bronze and 3-4 weeks for plaster (or write "pick-up" if you want to pick up at the Croatian Heritage Museum with no shipping).
The Immigrant Mother Statue Order Form
Your Name: ________________________________
City, State, Zip: ________________________________
Bronze (Limited Edition of 100):
QTY ___________ (x $2,500.00 USD) = ___________
Plaster (Open Edition):
QTY ___________ (x $250.00 USD) = ___________
Shipping (Total QTY x $15.00 USD OR $0 for pick-up): = ___________
Make checks payable to: Our Croatia Inc / Garden Fund
Please mail your completed order form to: 34900 Lakeshore Blvd. Eastlake, OH 44095
You can also make tax deductible contributions to the Croatian Cultural garden in any amount.
— By Croatian Cultural Garden Committee on June 8th, 2009