Dear Grandma Gussie,

I think of you often. [1]

I only wish we had talked more about your life before you came to the US.  I wish I had asked the names of all your siblings and your grandparents.  I wish I had asked about the exact shtetl or town where you grew up. I wish I had asked more what your life was like as a little girl. I wish I had asked what you felt, and how your parents felt, when you left for the new world, and what prompted your decision to leave.

You always told me you came to the US at age 16 by yourself.  Why didn’t I press you for details?  I can still remember saying “really, all by yourself?” and watching your shaky head smile and say “yes”. I wish I had asked how the journey was, and specifically how you got to the ship. I wish I had asked what you thought about America when you first got here.

So many questions are unanswered, and we will never know for sure what your feelings were.  However, I have tried to recreate your journey to the new world.  Grandma, why did you tell me you travelled alone at age 16?  Did you mean you came without your parents?  Did I misunderstand how you were using “alone”?  Finding your ship manifest told a whole different story; I only hope you will approve of how I tell it.

As you can see, I still think of you often and with affection, but sadly, there are so many questions that go unanswered.

With love,

Your granddaughter, Tara
March 6, 2023

The Journey

Read the details of Gussie’s and Sarah’s journey to the Nw World in the PDF file, From Mitau to Manhattan in 1904.

[i] To read memories about, and see photos of, my Grandma Gussie, read my blog: “Memories of Grandma Gussie”, by Tara Blieden Rothman, February 24, 2018,

Post Author: trothman

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