Sunday, May 6, 2018

A Most Important Cemetery Visit

To the best of my knowledge there is only one Jewish Cemetery in Iasi, Romania. That is the important cemetery in this reflection from the past. I have written before that my father was raised by his Aunt Hana, his mother's sister, and Uncle Aron, her husband. My grandmother, Victoria, became a widow when her youngest child, Itic, was about 4 years old. Itic, my father, was the youngest of five children, four girls and then my father arrived. I wish I knew the whole story, the whys and wherefores, but I do not. My brothers and I have always assumed that she could not afford to care for all five children. Apparently Hana Gall and her husband, Aron, could not have children and so Itic went to live with them. And he lived with them until he was 15 years old, through all those formative years, they were his parents in most ways. We are sure he saw his mother at times over those years but we have no idea how often. We do know that the Galls were much loved figures in his life.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The OId Homestead Is Not So Old

The suggested topic for the last week in March for #52Ancestors was The Old Homestead. My mind envisioned the shtetls of Europe or a farm or a ranch some where with lots of land or, even perhaps, a beautiful southern mansion. I knew that I might have had family living in a shtetl but, if so, I knew nothing about it. I knew names of towns in Romania in which they lived but nothing about HOW they lived.To the best of my knowledge none had lived on a farm, a ranch or in a mansion. Then I had a sudden realization. A new definition  for the homestead occurred to me. An Old Homestead was a place a family had lived for many years and many lifelong memories were built around life in that one place. the kind of memories one shares with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the kinds of experiences not available in today’s world, for the most part.That idea made it possible for me to have An Old Homestead. It was the apartment I lived in from the time I was three until I was married!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Luck in the Form of an Unexpected Phone Call

In December, 1953 I was married. It was a lovely wedding. Of course, the young bride was only  interested in her friends and a fun time. She was not interested in her father's relatives who had come from Philadelphia to be at the wedding. She really did not even know how they were related. I am sure she was polite and met them and thanked them for coming. The wedding was over and many years passed by.  Since that wedding much time has passed, bringing with it many changes. The bride and groom were divorced thirteen years later. The father and the mother of the bride passed away. Life went on for all others. The bride remarried, began a new life and had a fulfilling career and retired. Retirement did not sit well and a lucky phone call brought a new interest and excitement into her life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Fannie Segall, A Strong Woman

"She is such a Strong Woman." That seems to be a phrase we use often today. But the meaning has changed over the years. It seems in some of the reading I have been doing since this topic came up there is almost a generational meaning. But for my purposes now, for this entry, I want to go back to what it must have meant to a young woman who came to this country, married and for most of her life, was a working wife and mother. We don't find that so uncommon now. But let's think about the early 1900s. Much of the work done by women was menial in nature, poor pay, terrible conditions, and often they were really children. Those were Strong Women who worked hard to survive.

Then there were another group many Strong Women of that period. Those women who may have traveled alone or with a friend or a cousin and came to America. I know little about my MGM's life before she came to this country. Her brother, Moritz, arrived in 1896. She arrived from Romania in 1905. I do not know how much English she spoke or how long it took her to become fluent. And because I was not smart enough to ask the right questions growing up and did not become interested in genealogy until I retired from my own working life, there is a lot of conjecture, but will share what I know and why I admire her greatly.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Where There's a Will (#52Ancestors)

Ah, once again it's all in the meaning....  When I looked at this week's topic I, of course, thought of a will left after the death of a family member. But then I suddenly thought of another definition, a definition that refers to a person's strength, strength to do things that some of us may never thought could happen. What must it have been like, in those long ago years, to collect your families, your belonging and to leave behind a life you had always known. Perhaps be the person that leaves first, to make the way and hope that others you love will follow. That is the meaning of 'Where there's a will' I'd like to write about... some of the amazing people who played a part in our becoming the people we are today.

In my family there is not a lot of information about the "why' of why my maternal grandparents came to this country. They each came from Romania but not in the same years. I don't even know if the knew each other before they met here. My mgm is an example of the many young women who left their homes, their parents, their siblings to start a new life in this country. My pgm brought her youngest child, my father, and youngest daughter to start a new life here in the USA. Before that she had sent her other daughter, Bertha at age 16, to pave the way. Leaving meant leaving her sisters as well as the graves of two daughters and her husband. These are just two of the millions of our ancestors, strong willed men and women, who risked all they head to start, they hoped, new and better lives for themselves and their children.
My PGM, Dad, and Aunt
My MGM and PGF

I am not sure I could ever had the
will or been as strong and brave
as they were.