Embroidered Handkerchief

This is a photo of a handkerchief my maternal grandmother embroidered and passed on to her children (including my mother), and now to me too. This is one of several handkerchiefs passed down to the generations that came after, including my older sister and cousin. This object is representative of the type of work my grandmother did before and after immigrating to New York from the Dominican Republic in 1972. In DR, she worked from home as a seamstress, tailoring and making clothes for friends and family. Upon immigration, she worked in factories making men's suits. She immigrated with her oldest sons first, leaving the youngest and her husband behind. After working for about a year and establishing a home and some financial security, she sent for the rest of the children. My aunts and uncles who were of eligible age to work, did so in order to contribute to the family. They gained their GED instead of finishing high school, and entered the workforce as soon as possible. The immigration split up my grandmother's marriage, but ultimately offered greater financial stability and opportunity to the family. The handkerchief reminds me of her brave move to America and the hard work she put into providing for her family. It will continue to be passed down for generations to come, and perhaps to be used as the "something old" for brides-to-be in the family.

Place(s): New York
Year: 1972

– Alena Gross

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