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Bob Lind column: Neighbors: Getting to know you: Trip from Ukraine allows mothers-in-law to meet for the first time

This is the story of two mothers. One lives in Minnesota. One lives in Ukraine. The Minnesota mom is Gloria Luick. She and her husband, LaVerne, live on Ottertail Lake. The Ukrainian mom is Ludmila "Mila" Nechiporenko, a former high school math t...

This is the story of two mothers. One lives in Minnesota. One lives in Ukraine.

The Minnesota mom is Gloria Luick. She and her husband, LaVerne, live on Ottertail Lake.

The Ukrainian mom is Ludmila "Mila" Nechiporenko, a former high school math teacher.

Gloria and LaVerne have a son, David. He lives in Rochester, Minn.

Mila (pronounced MEE-la) has a daughter, Natalia. She lives in Rochester, too. Because she and David are married.

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Smart guy

David, his rightfully proud mother will tell you, is one bright guy. OK, most mothers will say that about their kids. But Gloria can back it up.

She and LaVerne used to farm at Fairmount, N.D. Their children went to school in nearby Rosholt, S.D.

David was into computers even as a kid; he built one when he was in Rosholt High School, and it won him a trip to the National Science Fair in Detroit.

Smart gal

Natalia earned a business degree in Ukraine.

One day she sent a letter to a correspondence service, one which produces a publication that invites men and women to write in and perhaps meet someone interesting.

She found someone interesting: David. He, too, had written to the service. They spotted each other's letters, began a correspondence, felt that the other one was worth checking out and finally met in Prague, Czech Republic.

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He says that while he responded to several women who wrote to the service, Natalia was far and away the most intelligent.

That did it for him.

They were married in Rochester in 1997 and had a reception in Ukraine. Then David went back to work at his job as computer design engineer for IBM in Rochester, where he's been employed for more than 25 years.

Natalia earned a master's degree after coming to Rochester. She speaks several Slavic languages. She works for the Kahler Hotel in Rochester.

Moms meet

Last Christmas, the two mothers-in-law met for the first time when Mila flew to Rochester, then came to Ottertail.

She didn't speak much English, Gloria says, "but she is a very friendly and gracious person."

Gloria took Mila and Natalia to the Christmas Eve service at the Luicks' church, Zion Lutheran, near Battle Lake, Minn. "We wanted to give Mila an understanding of some of our American ways," Gloria says.

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Mila said her mother had been a Lutheran.

Magnificent moms

David and Natalia are building a "big beautiful new house" in Rochester, Gloria says. Mila is still visiting them, and she's getting a crack at another American custom; she's helping them stain the woodwork.

Her visa is about to expire and she'll be returning to Ukraine at the end of this month.

But it's been good to have her here, Gloria says, to get acquainted with this nice woman who gave her son such a nice wife.

Mothers and mothers-in-law. There are a lot of them out there, each one from different backgrounds, each one with a different story.

This has been about two of them. They represent all the mothers and mothers-in-law who are being honored this special day.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or e-mail rlind@forumcomm.com

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