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Jeannie Kagen
Jeannie, considered the cornerstone of the Kagen family now. Born in Perm, Russia and adoped at the age of 8 years by Johnathan and Hanna Kagen. Jeannie is now age 68. Graduated UGA with a Masters in Arts and Humanity and then furthered her studies at Boston University and was awarded a PHD. Jeannie is a widow. She has one son and one daughter by her husband and two adopted daughters from Stary Oskol.

Hi Jeannie and thank you for sitting down with me today.
It's my pleasure and I welcome you Anuta's and our family home here on Sawmill Farm.

Jeannie you were born in Perm,Russia and adopted here in Georgia. Could you please tell us how that came about?
My understanding is years ago there had many families from Russia immigrated to America. These familes mostly stayed up north but many of then scattered all across the US. Several of these families relocated here to Georgia and our bio parents were one such family.

I was a small kid when my parents had passed on. My sister Mary and me were adopted by our beautiful parents Johnathan and Hanna Kagen here in Sawmill. I really don't remember much about being adopted and what all took place I was so young.

I remember our new parents were very caring and loving for Mary and me and did everything they could possibly do to make us feel like this was our home. They provided for all and any of our needs with no questions asked. After Mary and me got over the loss of our parents our lives were very happy growing up on Sawmill Farm. As the saying goes now it was a hoot for us and a time in our lives that we'll always love and cherish.

Your Dad?
Our dad was and still is our super hero. He had a love for a kid like no other and could care less what race or color a kid was or where that kid came from. To him a kid is a kid and needed much love and guidence from adults. He was one of the most tender hearted persons I have ever known.

I never remember him raising his voice to anyone and was always smiling and laughing. He loved our mum and it showed always and anytime. If she needed something he would stop and get it done for her right then even if he was behind with work on the farm. He did all of us kids the same way. If we wanted to talk to him about something he would stop right then and listen to us. He never once said we'll talk about this later.

Your Mum?
Our mum was no different than our dad. As we say here in the mountains she was always fussing over us. She made sure we always had clean clothes to wear and plenty of food to eat, and if we didn't eat everything on our plates she would threaten to slam our butts with a board.

Did you and your sisters and brothers ever get slammed with a board?
Laughing Jeannie said I'd say, and which time?
I think one of the reasons a lot of our kids today in our society are taking the wrong path in life is because they've never had their butts slammed with a board for mis behaving. They're not getting parenting and their parents are trying to be just friends and not their parents for them. I also think a lot of the peer presure they're under is because of that same reason. All of us were spoiled by our parents but not in a way that dictated the clothes we wore or any other materalistic things.

Your education and work?
I think the reason I chose the profession I did was because of the Russian culture I have. I loved growing up and working on the farm and would never ever leave Sawmill again to live somwhere else.  I loved my work in Boston and made a lot of money doing it and I did it for 20 years. At that time in my life in these mountains the only way you could make a decent living to support your family was by making moonshine whisky. Times were really tough back then for most of our friends born and raised here.

Did your dad make moonshine? Laughing Jeannie said no but our grand dad did. As a matter of fact all of us have a gallon left over from those wild ass days. I know too that Beth and Olga have a gallon and have given Elena a gallon of it.

We have no clue where they got it from and they won't tell us so there's probably more of it hidden somewhere on the farm. Beth, Anuta, Karen, Scoot Marina and Olga know every square inch of the farm and know things about it none of us kids ever did.There is no way we would ever open one of those gallon jugs. To much of our family history.

Your dad grow a lot of corn? Jeannie gets to laughing big time on this question. I'd say he did and sold it to all the moonshiners around this valley. He paid for all of our college educations from the sale of his corn crops.