October 16, 2018 – Prompt – Courage

It takes courage to raise nine children as a single mother. My grandmother not only did that but brought them to America. Before World War I and II broke out, she and her family lived in Austria. When she heard about the German takeovers and her family encouraged her to immigrate to Poland. Packing up the youngest five children, she found passage across the Atlantic on a steam ship in steerage. Steerage was the bottom of the ship where cargo was stored.

She and the five children made it to New York and from there joined her relatives to live in a small apartment. She worked as a seamstress and a cook to save enough money to return to Poland and bring back her older four children. The recession and during the wars were tough on her family. My mother, number seven and her brother, number eight, had to be fostered to live with another couple. The older children had to get jobs to support the whole family when my grandmother couldn’t work.

Today, I’ve always thought about visiting Europe to see the land where my grandmother came from. I finally was able to do that this summer. The amazing part visiting the cities which had been rebuilt after the war to the same grandeur they once had. I could never imagine what she had gone through to bring her children to the United States. Some asked, ‘Where was her husband, my grandfather?’ We don’t know. The last thing my cousin found out was Max spent some time in South Africa and Canada during this era.

Nancy Nation

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