My Great Grandmother, newly married at 14, came to settle with her Husband in NYC. I want to know what it was like for a girl, because she was a girl, with no education, who was born in Naples to come and settle in Brooklyn.

Barely conversant in some regional dialect, to then come here, and try to figure out how to survive in this brave new world? With a husband who was a scoundrel of the first degree? And with a brother who was not much better?

Her Husband left her to go back to Italy to fight with them in WWI- leaving her behind with two small children…

When he did return to the US, he then left her for another woman…

And yet she survived.

I want to see how she got her resilience- her strength and her resolve. What she had to endure just to get to tomorrow.

So maybe not exactly 1912, but you get the idea…

Strong women. May we all find the strength that we need to survive.

35 thoughts on “Bloganuary Day 21: If you could, what year would you time travel to and why?

  1. The resiliency of women is amazing isn’t it? I agree that to stand to the side and watch how our female ancestors managed to exist, let alone live in any sense of normal, would be inspiring to the “easy” life we have now. Alison did the whole genealogy thing for our family and I am in awe when I imagine what life was like for the women who I descend from.

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  2. My family didn’t travel around the world as did yours. But they came from the east end of London which was a very very poor area and my grandmother, a Christian, married a Jew and they were completely cut off from his family. I wonder just what life was like for her and of course there’s no comparison to my life.
    By the way I have tried to respond to your comment on my site, but WP don’t allow several replies. Maybe we could do the first Friday in the month and call it Five Words on First Friday, or some clever alliteration.

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  3. That’s an amazing story about your great grandmother. I’m fascinated by mine too who published cookbooks for sale to women’s auxiliary groups. Sometimes she was the sole bread winner in the late 1890s and early 1900s.

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  4. I can’t imagine leaving behind your family and homeland at age 14, being married and moving to a strange new world. She must have been a very strong and adventurous woman.

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  5. Wow! What a legacy for you about your great grandmother! Strong woman indeed!
    We do have it sooo easy now! My grandma was working out in the tobacco fields on the day she had my Aunt. Maternity leave? What is that?


  6. Your wonderful answer leaves me feeling two inches tall. I immediately started thinking about problems in my family that could be corrected if someone had intervened or history were changed. My second thought is “beware what you wish for” knowing that if we could change history we would probably mess it up even worse than it was. So, selfish thoughts aside, I too wonder how women of the past endured. Often their goodbyes to family and friends were permanent with no further communication. As a mother I would find that heartbreaking. I think your great grandmother was, of necessity, made of stronger stuff than most women today.

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    1. Seriously, do think she brought in laundry and ironing and had her brother and sister and kids all living together and she never saw her parents again because they wanted their kids to have better lives…and she got to Ellis island and they changed her name because it was too ethnic…

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  7. My husband’s Nonna came to the Oklahoma panhandle from Naples as a WWII bride. She was sixteen when she gave birth to twins girls (my mother-in-law), who were raised by their grandparents. I can’t even imagine the culture shock, much less all the rest.

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