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Meet the Neighbors @ Mulberry Street: The Lower East Side Tenement Museum, July 30th at 6:30 P.M.
My grandparents were both born and raised in Newry, County Down, Ireland and remarkably never met until they both arrived in America. My grandmother was the first to come over in 1929 on a very small tugboat that took 10 days and she was apparently seasick for the entire ride and broke one of her favorite teacups. When she arrived in New Jersey, her uncle had told her that she had just missed supper and would have to wait until morning to eat. The next day, he threw a newspaper at her and told her to get a job. In 1930, my grandfather left from Belfast on a larger boat, which he would describe as if he had traveled on a luxury liner, and “danced” his way to America. When he came over, his first task was to deliver a teacup to a woman that had just moved from Newry. And as luck would have it, my grandparents met and fell in love right away.
This abridged version of my grandparent’s story has been repeated to me since I was a little girl. I was reminded constantly about how hard life was for them in Ireland, and the struggles they again faced in America. They were very poor and employers turned my grandmother away because of her Irish background. But I’m not the only one who has a story of when my ancestors emigrated to America. In fact if you are also familiar with stories such as these, you should join us tomorrow night at the Mulberry Street Branch to meet our neighbors, The Lower East Side Tenement Museum. You’ll be able to gain a better understanding of what life was like for immigrants during the 19th and early 20th centuries and reflect on your own family stories.
This program will take place tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. Contact the Mulberry Street Branch library to RSVP.