Sailed From Czechoslovakia for Work

Woman switched places with her ill sister for a job opportunity.

| Good Old Days

My mother came to the United States from Litenuritz, Czechoslovakia, in 1911.

Her sister had a housekeeping job waiting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but was suddenly taken sick the day before she was to sail. She knew she couldn't go and my grandmother didn't want to lose all the $200 fare, so my mother took her place, using her sister's name and passport. The crossing took 21 days.

While working for some Germans in Philadelphia who took a German paper, my mother read an ad from a widower, Louis Reistle, of Swedesboro, New Jersey, who wanted a housekeeper. My mother answered the ad, and in 1912 married my father Louis.

Gertrude Reistle Myers
Swedesboro, New Jersey

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

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