Being a seventeen year old in the 21st century makes it nearly impossible to imagine what life was like back in the early 20th century. I have the luxury of living in the United States where I can make my own decisions, be able to grow economically, and be able to voice my opinions. That wasn’t always the case for my family. My great grandmother came over as a seventeen year old girl with her husband and child to escape economic depression in the early 1900’s. My great grandmother from Whales and my great grandfather was from Ireland. They decided to make the trip over to America to help improve their economic situation and get greater opportunities like most immigrants did at that time. The journey over was usually long, crowded, and unsanitary. Because of the limited space on the boat, people were only able to bring a couple of things. One of the things my grandmother thought would be beneficial was a chair to sit in. She had a newborn child and she knew she would have to nurse it on the the boat ride over. Little did my grandmother know that chair would be significant almost 100 years from then.
One sunny August afternoon, my mom and I were going through our back rooms in our basement. The back rooms tend to be filled with things what we don’t use everyday which include old furniture, decorations, etc. I had just got done finishing up cleaning through our snowman decorations and stumbled across a wooden chair and almost fell over. “This chair is a death trap! Mom, what is this?” My mom came rushing in from the next room over with a worried look on her face, “Lauren, be careful with that. That chair was something your grandmother brought over from Ireland.” Now I thought I knew my family well but I guess not well enough. “Grandma Pat is from Ireland? I thought she was Scottish?” I asked. “No, no. MY great grandmother,” my mother replied, “She came from Ireland when she was 17 with her husband and child and needed to nurse her on the way over. They didn’t have much. They were extremely poor and didn’t have much opportunity in Ireland. So your grandfather King told grandmother to pack her bags and that they were going to America.” It was crazy to think at such a young age my Grandmother came over to America. Packing up her bags and moving to this new country where everything was so much different put me in great disbelief. I was fascinated.
After discovering the chair, I now keep it in my room by my desk. It’s a very tiny chair; something that almost looks like it belongs at a child’s desk. The chair has wooden poles made up for the back. Every time I look at it, I have a sudden feeling of intrigue. It sits in my room for now as a metaphoric symbol. Every time I look at it, it makes me feel braver and stronger. Even though things can be tough now a days in the 21st century, I’m not sure if any seventeen year old I know of has to deal with a struggle to that extreme now a days. Even though I never met my grandmother King, she had to be brave for coming over on a whim. If i could have the same courage as my grandmother, I know anything is possible.