Finding Katie!

13 Jun

When my maternal grandmother immigrated to the United States in 1922, she was sponsored by her father’s sister: her Aunt Gussie. I wrote about this in another blog, which I will reference at the end.

Grandma became very good friends with her first cousin, Katie L. They remained friends throughout their lives, even though they did not live near to each other. But the letters and phone calls seemed to keep their love for each other in tact.

Katie’s married name was Katie Alexander. That is the name we always heard, and this was the name we thought of when we spoke of Katie. It was so ingrained in our lives.   Grandma loved her cousin, Katie; she spoke of her often!

I think my sister was the most in love with the name.   She named her son, Alexander. And four years later, she named her daughter Katherine, or Katie. My Mom at first said, “How can you name her Katherine?” My sister was naming her daughter after my grandmother, whose name was Thelma in English/ Tova in Hebrew.

My sister reminded my Mom that Katie was Grandma’s friend and cousin. And since she did not want to name her daughter Thelma, she thought she would use Tova as the Hebrew name and Katie, Grandma’s cousin’s name for the English.

I laughed. I often tell my sister that she named her children for Katie Alexander. And so the name stays alive in my family.

Album

Last summer, while we were cleaning out the attic of the Catskill’s home that had been both our grandparents and parents, we found an old brown leather photo album. It was filled with photos from the 1920s. Many had no names. Some had Yiddish or Hebrew writing on the back. Some had just an address or a place.

Grandma:Katie

But within the photos was a photo from 1924 of Grandma and Katie. That was it. I decided I had to find out what happened to Katie Alexander’s family. Thanks to the Tracing the Tribe Facebook group, I now have that information. The wonderful members of the group found members of Katie’s family for me. And then I contacted them.

I have been in touch with one of her sons, a niece and a granddaughter. I have found out that another name we often heard in our home was Katie’s brother. We never knew Katie’s maiden name. She was always referred to by her married. But I realized after I send them some photos, that the Sam L. that my grandmother spoke was Katie’s brother. WOW!

I am hoping that they will be able to identify more of the photos in the album so we can put names to those nameless young men and women who were so important to my grandmother. I am so happy we were able to find Katie.

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/grandma-thelma-knows-what-she-knows/

https://zicharonot.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/old-photographs-bring-memories-to-life/

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