Niagara Gazette — By the time the series was nearing the end of its relatively long television run, my sisters and I knew most of the opening narration by heart, especially the last part, “But most of all, I remember Mama …”
As Dagmar, played by Robin Morgan, the youngest girl in the TV family began to seep into my sister’s psyche, their behavior, especially some of their antics and attitudes began to shift; the Hansens were becoming models of behavior for my sisters and millions of other families across the country; fortunately, that was not a bad thing, but somewhere along the way, the influence of the characters of Mama, Dagmar and her little family seemed to fade into oblivion for a while as other forces began to dominate popular culture, not all necessarily for the better.
But every Mother’s Day, I remember that precious time with my Mom, my little sisters and the show.
Of course, by the time Forbes memoir was published in 1943, things were a far cry from the 1910 world she recreated from the memories that inspired her work, nothing like what my family knew and lived.
Born in 1908, only two years before the period she chose to write about, Forbes had lived in a world so full of turmoil and trouble, it’s no wonder she wrote about a more comforting time when most mothers seemed to be the real rock of civilization while some fathers seemed to be constantly at war desperately trying to destroy it.
World War One, which, sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 when she was only six years old, and raged until the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, no doubt impacted her European grandparents and her whole immigrant family.
Then, like everyone else, she had to endure the Great Depression, and to top it all off, Norway, her grandparent’s homeland, was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War between 1940 and 1945.