Saturday, April 20, 2019

A to Z 2019 April Blogger Challenge - The Letter R - Rachel

It's April - That means I will be participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

I will be posting six days a week for the month of April - (with a rest day on Sunday).
Each post will begin with the corresponding letter of the alphabet beginning with A and finishing with the letter Z.

I began participating in this challenge in 2012.   With the exception of last year, I believe I completed the challenge each year.   Last year I lost steam somewhere around the letter W.


The woman leading the group is my grandmother, Rachel.  I came across this photo years ago while going through my mom's belongings when my mom came to stay with us.  My mom is also in the photo.
She is the woman behind my grandmother and next to the woman holding a child. 

My mom didn't remember any details about the photo.   She couldn't identify the woman carrying the child or who the child is.   She thought the child could have been one of her brothers.

The building sign in the background identifies that the photo was taken in Newark, NJ.   The building was a department store called Kresge's.   It looks like my mom was in her late teens or early 20's.   That would mean the photo was taken around 1940.

Because the subjects in the photo appear to be in motion, I am assuming the photo is a candid, not posed.  Also, the women's expressions are serious.  I wonder why.  I wonder who took the photo. 

I want to know where they were going and why where they going there.

One thing about the photo that I find typical is that Rachel, my grandmother, seems to be the leader.  

At age sixteen she led the way from Italy to America to look for her father.  Her father, my great-grandfather, had left for America months earlier with the intention of getting settled here and then send for his wife and two daughters.
As far as we know, she never found him.  My mother told me that it was a subject that my grandmother would not talk about.  Perhaps she did find him?  But, we have always assumed that 
the day he left his family was the last time anyone ever heard from him again. 

Another reason I feel that it was typical for Rachel to be leading the group in the photo is that she was the "head" of a large family.   My grandmother gave birth to at least 14 children.  We know that two of her children did not live more than a few days or months after birth.   Her first born daughter died at age 7.  By the time my aunt Antonette passed away, she had given birth to several more children.  Ten of her children did survive.  
She began to have grandchildren when the youngest of her own children were only 8 to 11 years older than those grandchildren. 
She led this large family as one who belonged to a  generation of a European immigrant would. Her role was to care for her husband, children and household. 
I am the oldest of many grandchildren and my strongest memory of her is that she made each of us feel as those we were her favorite. 

Rachel was an influential part of my life.   She made me feel loved of course, as only a grandmother could.  But more importantly she made me feel special.  


  1. She looks determined in the photo. She seemed like a formidable woman! I wonder if her father had found a new family here and didn't want to be found, but sad situations with the way he left and didn't have any more contact (that you know of) with his family.


    1. My great-grandfather finding a new family is certainly one of the scenarios we have considered. With all of the dna testing people are doing now, maybe someday we might find those long lost relatives.

  2. I wonder if you could track your great-grandfather down. Did he die suddenly? Or did he move on? I'd bet he died and the memory was painful for your grandmother.

    1. I bet we could probably hire a genealogy researcher to do the work. I have a feeling it would be expensive, though. I strongly believe that my grandmother never did find out what happened.