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Mary Kagen
Mary was adopted by Johnathan and Hanna Kagen at the same time with her sister Jeannie. Mary is from Perm, Russia but has lived most of her life in America and on Sawmill Farm. Mary has a Masters Degree in Education and was  awarded a PHD in Education a few years later. Mary is a retired college professor from a major university in Florida. Mary is a widow and the mother of three beautiful daughters. Tami, Yulia and Elena. Mary is age 65 now.

I would like to thank you Mary for joning me on this beautiful sunny Saturday here on the porch of Anuta's and your beautiful home place.
It's my pleasure to be here with you this morning and welcome to our new and beautiful Sawmill Farm.

Tell us about your family Mary.
I have three daughters the two oldest being twins. They're both living at home and going to UGA working on their Masters in aerospace engineering. They're both working under our cousin Bill Kagen in our family aviation company.
I also have a 12 year old daughter we adopted when she was seven and she's the sunshine in our lives.

Tell us about growing up here on Sawmill Farm.
Mary laughs and said that was many years ago, but those memories have never faded from my mind nor my heart. Life back then was simple and fun for us kids. We had this beautiful farm that was our playground, plenty of food to eat, nice clean clothes to wear and a parent's love that we knew and felt all the time. If we were considered poor by anyone we sure had no clue that we were poor or what the word poor meant. We never did without anything we needed and I suppose never considered our family a poor family.

Our parents were strict on us about some things but for the most part we romped all over this farm and this home here never worrying much about anything having fun and learning from not only our parents but from each other. Each of us had a horse and would spend hours riding together all over this valley. Laughing Mary tells me, we had our own bicycles and believe it or not that Anuta has all them together down in the Morgan Quarters and refuses to cough them up for us.

Cyl and me were in there one day grooming our Morgans and Anuta came bouncing up to us and said how youins aunts of mine gettin on today? That tore Cyl and me up and we started laughing at her speaking our mountain slang. She said I got something to show youins up on the second floor that Beth and me found in the barn benind the house a few days ago.

We followed her up to the second floor, which could be an indoor football field just like all three of the floors in that barn.
We followed her to a large room up there. She flipped on the lights and there sat everyone of our bicycles. Cyl and me jumped up off the floor yelling I can't belive my eyes at what I'm seeing. Man what a awesome thing for us to see.
We asked Anuta could we take them home with us she and flat out told us NO not going to happen. We started laughing at her and asked her why not.

She told us these bicycles are a part of your lives and history that needs to stay in a place where they can be preserved.
That's when she told us part of this second floor I'm going to make into a family museum. We've found a lot of things in the two barns behind the house, things in the attic of the house and some things in poppa's barn here on the terrace with the Morgan Quarters. We think all these things need preserving so all of us can enjoy seeing them, your grand kids and our kids when we start our familes. These things are part of our family heritage and we're going to preserve them right here on this floor in the Morgan Quarters.

I can tell you right now that touched mine and Cyl's hearts to hear this coming from our niece but then again...look who thie one niece is and what she stands for to this family. Laughing at her we asked could we at least touch them. She said sure, when you call your brothers and sisters and tell them to get their sorry asses out here and get them cleaned up.
Man that kid kept our asses laughing that day about our bicycles, and all of us did get them cleaned that day and we had an awesome time doing it. She did allow us to ride them around for a few minutes on that second floor.

Each of us had chores we had to do here at home and we also worked with our dad on the farm. He paid each one of us $.50 cents a day. Dad opened each one of us a savings account at the bank and that's where our weekly earnings went.
Everyone of us still have those savings accounts and all that money he put in there for us. You would be surprised how much money each one of us have in our accounts there that we've never touched and have no intentions of doing so.

On Saturday afternoons we would go to town so mum could buy things she needed for us. When we would get to town dad would give each one of us a $1.00 and tell us to have fun and meet back at the car at a certain time.
Laughing Mary says you would be surprised what we could do with a $1.00 back then. Most of the time we would have money left over out of that $1.00.

Back then it seemed like we lived so far away from anything we very seldon new what was happening in the news and to be truthful with you we didn't really care. We all learned to play string instruments and made our own music. When tv became available dad got one for us. Not much happening on that thing for us so we very seldom watched it and I still don't today.

You see that small pond out there? During the summer that's where our butts were during the hottest part of the days. That thing is spring fed and is like ice water and will make your teeth chatter until your body got numb and we couldn't feel the cold anymore.  Most days our mum would show up with some homemade churned ice cream. Man those were the good ole days for all of us.

One thing our parents insisted we do, and they made sure we did it, and that was to have fun and enjoy just being kids and doing kid things. I never remember feeling any stress from them and we had no idea what peer pressure meant. Dad would carry us over to the main road that comes into this valley every morning to meet the school bus and mum would be there to get us in the afternoons.

Back then we had no high school band or football team. We had a basketball team and that was it and we did go to some of the games. I think we all enjoyed staying at home and making our own entertainment together. We were then, and still are today, a very close family.

School and getting an education for us was a high priority for our parents. They both had college degrees and expected us to get them too. Our mum was an elementary school teacher and our dad had a degree in agriculture.