fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

52 Ancestors Week 14 – The Maiden Aunt

The theme for Week 14 (April 2-8) is The Maiden Aunt.

This one is easy. The only relative I know of who qualifies is Frieda SCHWARTZ. She was actually my great-aunt, my grandmother’s middle sister. (Grandma was the oldest of 5 children – 3 girls and 2 boys). If her naturalization certificate is correct, she was born on 16 July 1906 in Ostrow, Poland. She came to the U.S. in 1920, with her mother and siblings. She filed her first papers in 1930 and was naturalized in 1935.

Interestingly, her brother, Morris SCHWARTZ, also used the same birthdate on some records, which implies that they are twins. I’m skeptical because that’s the sort of thing you’d think somebody would have mentioned at some point.

Frieda worked at a few menial jobs over the years – as a typist in a factory that made satchels and as some sort of operator in a factory. But that was all in the 1930’s. She might have helped out in the other brother, Phil’s, jewelry store. She and Phil lived in a large apartment in Brooklyn for a lot of years. Frieda was a hoarder and all sorts of odds and ends turned up when she was moved into a nursing home after a stroke. Those ranged from a full-length 1920’s wool bathing suit to a Victrola with a collection of Enrico Caruso 78s to a World War II ration book. She also wore the same worn-out clothes all the time, despite having lots of nice new things in her closet.

I’ve always assumed Frieda never married because she was, frankly, an unpleasant woman. My father felt free to criticize my mother’s relatives and referred to her as "Aunt Morbid." But my mother claimed that she had gotten involved in an unsuitable relationship, i.e. one with a non-Jewish boy, back in Poland and that was part of what made my great-grandmother bring the family to New York (where her husband had been since 1910). That’s not the kind of story one could prove or disprove, so it’s just something interesting to think about.

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Tags: #52ancestors, genealogy

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