Land of Opportunity: Great-Grandmother Saves Pennies from Menial Labor

Great-grandmother joins husband in land of opportunity after years of menial tasks.

| Good Old Days

Great-Grandmother was born in Hanover, Germany. Her parents were poor people who had a hard time caring for their children. When she was very young, Grandmother's parents hired her out to a well-to-do family. There she had the status of a lowly servant girl, doing all the household's menial tasks for her keep. Her bed was in a cold corner of the dark attic, and board consisted of leftovers uneaten by the family. She got a few hand-me-downs for clothing. After working for several years she was paid wages a few cents per week. Once a month she could visit her family. The walk home was long, but along the way she gathered edible greens to contribute to the home folks' meal.

She met and fell in love with John, an ambitious young man whose dream was to someday go to America. They had been married only a short time when John announced he had saved enough to buy passage to the United States. Grandmother would continue to work until he sent for her. After many long months, a letter came with a ticket for her ocean voyage.

Grandmother made a last visit to bid her parents good-bye. It was sad to realize she would probably never see them again.

Grandmother decided she would greet John in style. She sacrificed a few hard-earned pennies and bought a new hat. It was a beautiful creation of velvet, ribbon and plumes. She was so proud of it, and she hoped John would be proud of her.

The hat was the first thing John noticed. "Come, we will buy you a beautiful new hat– that one looks like the old country." With that, he pulled out her hatpins and tossed her cherished bonnet into the harbor.

The next shock came when John said, "Now we will go and be married." Grandmother protested, saying surely they were legally married in Germany.

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