"On My Own has a total of 446 pages which are papers from writer 'Mary V. Demassa'. I have decided to tell the story of my life. I intend to include information about my parents and my brother, and as I recall various events, I will include stories about other relatives and friends as well. We were an especially close family and our lives always revolved around one another. I believe this closeness was fostered by the love my parents had for each other, and they passed this love to each of us. In addition, Tommy and I were highly respected and encouraged by Mom and Dad all through their lives. They loved to take credit for all we achieved, as well they should have. We always did the best we could. But they gave us the chance and the backing we needed. Especially because Tommy and I were deeply loved by our parents, we gained confidence and assurance. We knew where we stood from the beginning. And we could always count on Mom and Dad for anything we needed. In addition, my parents deeply loved their families. They passed on this love to us through their close relationships with their brothers, sisters, cousins, and relatives in Italy and Romania, as well as their many friends. Family came first all through our lives. There may have been disagreements, but they were only occasional and the closeness returned. We were always thrilled to receive letters from the relatives overseas and the letters were read word for word to each other. I always felt part of the larger family, even though I did not understand the language. My mother interpreted for us, so we knew what was said and what the news was. Since my brother Tommy died so suddenly on November 14, 2003, I have felt a loss so deep I sometimes feel I can barely continue. The hurt never goes away. I want to share the reasons for my closeness to Tommy so our family and friends can better understand. For me, Tommy represented everything in life: my upbringing, my parents, and nearly all the things I experienced up to the present time. He was the one single family member to talk to who understood all of me. I never thought of life without Tommy. It has been a terrible blow, and of course I realize this is true for our family and friends, also. Further, since I have begun to think out what I want to write, I have expanded my goal to include additional stories and descriptions of our family, which will explain and bridge the generations of individuals who made up our lives. Perhaps other cousins and their children, and other friends, too, will be interested in my story. I hope to include pictures, letters, and other materials, which will be a history of our family to leave as my legacy to nieces and nephew and their children and to others. Even now, it is possible that only three great-grandchildren will remember my mother, their great-Grandma, GG. She loved them dearly, and I hope to leave them some wonderful memories and important information they can pass on to their children. I think they need to know where they came from down through our European roots and what our family was like. Otherwise, I am afraid all would be lost. Who will be left to tell our story? There are very few relatives left even now who remember. So, I have decided to try to tell this larger story in addition to describing my life. There are other persons who know some of my life's history, also, and as time permits, I will talk to them to add or correct information namely, Auntie Nina, Mom's sister, or her children; Jennie Ray, my first cousin and friend; and Octavia Lina Hirschmann, Mom's first cousin. Or Octavia's children, Carol Borthwaite (Colorado) or Fred Hirschmann (Alaska). In addition, my sister-in-law, Joann, will be of help as needed to give information about Tommy. Joann will have her story to tell also. As time passes, there are fewer and fewer people to ask about our history, and I hope to be as accurate as possible. Most everyone I have talked to about this project has been supportive. Several have even said that they too would like to leave some history for their families. 2010-01-01 time of publication of the book, [-Xlibris Corporation-]"