Jewell’s Beauty Shop sign

The object I chose was the neon sign from “Jewell’s Beauty Shop.” Jewell Chuchro Gwadz was my great-grandmother. She was born in 1910 in Chicago and lived to be99 years old. Her parents were born in Poland and came to the US right before she was born. She spoke Polish, cooked Polish food, and listened to Polish radio.This object represents her immigrant success story. She came from a large family at a time when girls did not receive a lot of education. She told my mother, “I decided I wouldn't get married until I had my own apartment and my own car.” That was unusual for the time. She went to a business college for two years and started her beauty shop, probably around 1935. She did not get married until she was in her 30s, which was considered late.She loved her beauty shop and she did well. My mother remembers visiting her there. She had a huge jar where she kept her tips. Every two years she’d take the money out of the jar and buy a new car. She was smart and a good businesswoman.Her oldest son, my grandfather, was the first in their family to go to college.When the beauty shop closed, they put the neon sign in her basement in Chicago, but then she moved to Florida and no one knows what happened to it.

Place(s): Chicago, Poland
Year: 1910

– Benjamin Viorst

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more