I had a hard time deciding amongst several possibilities for this, but I decided to go with my great-grandmother, Mollie SCHWARTZ (Malka Ryfka SZWARCBORT, nee MAKOWER. Why her? Well, her husband emigrated from Poland to the U.S. in 1910, leaving her – and 4+ children – behind. (The + is because my great-aunt Bernice was a parting gift, so to speak.) As far as I can tell, she lived with her sister in Zambsk before the family joined him in the U.S.
This is a common story. In fact, it’s pretty much the same for my great-grandfather’s brother’s family. So many immigrant women were effectively single parents for so many years. What would it be like to try to keep tabs on 5 children between the ages of 9 and 17 during the voyage to America? And what about reuniting with a husband you haven’t seen in a decade? That generation of immigrant women handled it all.
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