Airmail + Doll

In Fun
Relationship: Im/migrant

Nechel Beadle and her daughter Brooke shared this story with the Tenement Museum during an event at the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

Nechel moved from Grenada when she was sixteen years old, right after graduating high school. She recalled how she didn't want to leave her country, but an aunt and her grandmother encouraged her to seek better opportunities in New York. She joined her brother in the Bronx, living with him and his family for six months, before moving to Brooklyn, which she described as "more her style." Throughout her difficult first months, she wrote letters every day to her friends in Grenada, sending them by air mail. Writing letters served to keep her connected to her home country, but was also a way of "keeping her sanity." Nechel's mother eventually moved to New York, and they got an apartment together. She met her husband, got married, and became a mother herself. Her daughter Brooke cherishes a doll given to her by her grandmother, Carmen, and shared that the doll wears a vibrant headscarf like the ones that so many women in Grenada wear. Brooke hasn't yet visited Grenada, but they're hoping to make the trip soon. 

Nechel still has the letters from friends written during those early years in the United States, and reflected how much she now appreciates her family's encouragement to immigrate to New York: "They saw that there was something there for me." 

Place(s): Grenada,New York

– Nechel Beadle

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant