Fake trees

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
"Tree decorator consultants" - NY Times
"Tree decorator consultants" - NY Times

My grandmother – Anne Chajet – was born in Romania…. we think. She moved to England as a young child with her parents and three sisters. She married my grandfather, Chaim Chajet (pronounced “hai-yet”) in 1934. When my grandmother went to register my father and his brother for school in England, the secretary called her in and changed the pronunciation of the name to “Sha-jzey”. My grandmother, who loved the idea of a French-sounding last name rather than a Polish one – embraced the change. My grandfather, an Orthodox Jew committed to his roots, had no interest in the new pronunciation but he lost that battle. My grandparents immigrated with their two sons to the US in 1950, moving to NYC. My grandfather worked and my grandmother assumed her role of a balabusta. Five years after moving to NY my grandfather died suddenly. Anne was challenged to live an independent life in NYC. A strong woman, my grandmother – who had never expected to be a “working woman” – made her way in the business world. She took over her late husband’s bristle business, was a general manager at the Bradley and Lido Beach Hotels,  worked for a prestigious London-based watch company, and was even entrepreneur outfitting fake trees for people's homes (see NY Times). All the while, she continued to make the best mandelbread and gefilte-gefrite in NYC – and refused to share her recipes.

Year: 1950

– Lori Chajet

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant