Genie Breakthrough


At work this morning, I overheard three men, on separate occasions, being asked if they watched the Super Bowl. As each one replied “No,” I thought to myself, “These are my people.” A place in which men don’t even watch sports!

So, I had a genie breakthrough yesterday. I am still feeling the aftereffects of relief and awe. For months, I have been trying to find how/when/where my maternal great-grandparents entered the States. All I had to go on was some oral history that said that they came through Mexico because one of the children (Great-Aunt Gertie) had something wrong with her eyes.  My great-grandpa worked for the railroad (allegedly), and their first child was born in Turkey and the second in Egypt. They then ended up in California and Pennsylvania, having three more children. To add to the mystery, my great-grandparents have very common Italian names, and they changed the spelling of their last name at some point (Grandi to Grande).

The stars aligned somehow and I tracked down Aunt Gertie on a passenger list from New York. I hadn’t been looking at New York passenger lists, because my mom had been told they came through Mexico. There she was, with her parents and younger brother. I read the names a few times out of disbelief. They came to New York from Brazil in 1903. Brazil! And the document said my great-grandpa was a sculptor. A sculptor!

But the intrigue is far from over. The fam (or maybe just Great-Grandpa) possibly left the country and came back two other times.

According to later census records, they had been to the U.S. in 1902 and 1904. Oh boy. And the passenger list also said that they had been to the U.S. in 1902. Did they come to California and then leave the U.S., just to come back a year later? Their destination on the 1903 passenger list was the small coal-mining town in Pennsylvania where they settled.

Well, that’s enough genie talk for now. I’ve been sitting here typing with my teeth whitening strips on. Day 2 of 14! I’m not causing irreversible damage to my teeth, right??

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