Today, in honor of Thanksgiving - two stories of thanks. Carolyn Parkes married at age 13 after she got pregnant by an older boy. She struggled to learn how to be a mother at such a young age. She was lonely, living in an isolated area, and her new husband was at work all day.
One day, in lonely desperation, she pulled out her childhood paper dolls and played with them, even while her real-life infant gurgled nearby. This memory always embarrassed Carolyn. When she got older, she told her daughter the story. Later, her daughter gave her a gift - an elaborate set of vintage paper dolls. That gesture enabled Carolyn to stop blaming herself for her shortcomings as a young mom and treasure the bond she had created with her child.
Leon grew up in Poland in the 1930s, living a life of privilege. The Prochniks were a well-to-do Jewish family who ran a chocolate factory. But all that changed in 1938 when the Nazis reached their hometown of Krakow. In the wake of the brutal Nazi occupation of Poland, which would eventually claim 90 percent of the country's Jewish population, the family gathered what they could and began a long, dangerous journey that would take them through Eastern Europe and eventually to safety in New York City. However, had it not been for a chance encounter with a doctor's wife and a mother's instinct, Leon says he never would have survived.