Kaja Laul Paulos
1995 - Tartu University, B.S. in Psychology. 1999 - Tallinn University, M.S. in Social Psychology. 2001 - California State University Northridge – M.S. in Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy. Licensed psychotherapist (LMFT) in California and independent licensed psychotherapist (IMFT) in Ohio. Joined korp! Amicitia in Tartu in 1990, currently member of the Toronto.)
I was born in the early seventies and grew up in deep Soviet times. It was a very stable time in many ways, yet there was a sense of hopelessness and oppression, of course. Nothing to lose and nothing to gain either – you were able to survive if you kept your head low enough. The atrocities of the 40’s and 50’s were behind us, as well as the unrest of the end of 60’s. I have not had a personal experience of those horrors. By the time I came along it was a rather quiet deep Soviet time.
However, the reality of the Soviet experience reached me through personal and intimate family stories. My mother was just a few years old, when she lost her father. He was mobilized by the Soviets early in WWII.
He never returned, his body was never recovered; there is no grave site for him. A few years later, when my mother was seven years old, my grandparents’ farm was bombed and the house burned to ashes. My grandmother, mother and my mother’s sister were left with only the clothes they were wearing on that September day. It would have been rather “easy” for them to escape overseas that fall of 1944 since, living on the west coast of Saarema, they did not have to travel far to find a boat. My grandmother told me they even had things packed and a place secured on the boat. But she decided to stay, expecting and hoping for her husband to return. Also, she could not bear the thought of leaving her animals behind in the stable… (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 7. märtsi paberlehes)
Independence Day celebration speech in Cleveland 2014 and personal recollections of occupied Estonia