Divorce Document

My mom at 17
My mom at 17

 At 17 years old my mother felt torn between her Polish immigrant parent's cultural values and her American lifestyle in Long Island, New York. At this age, she was forced into an arranged marriage by her parents. My mom was born in America and considered herself an American girl. Domesticity and Catholic values were taught to my mom in the home but she was also a cheerleader in high school and enjoyed creative writing dreaming of becoming a journalist. However, this was not the path she was destined to follow; she had a bigger legacy to leave on the world. My grandparents came from a rural area in Poland, województwo małopolskie in Polish (aka. Lesser Polish Province). They carried over their Polish values to Long Island, as arranged marriage was a relatively common practice in older generations in Poland. My mom was married to a man 16 years older from Poland. She yearned for her own autonomy but became indoctrinated with ideals that “women were to be seen and not heard” in her youth. My mother would clean the house and cook as training to become a wife when she was older. What freed her? An annulment. This is like a divorce except it means the marriage did not occur in the eyes of God. She fought for 7 years for this paper after escaping her marriage. She was on a journey of self-discovery. She learned she could choose who to love, and later met my father. They’ve been together now for 30 years. Her path of self-liberation allowed me to be raised by a strong woman who taught me to speak my mind always and never allow myself to be put beneath a man. 

Place(s): Poland, New York

– Jenny (Audio: Polish-American Polka music "Polish Wedding March" Bud Hundenski)

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant