Our trip to the Tenement Museum was enlightening. It made me realize how my life, as it is today, is a direct result of the sacrifice and journeys made by my maternal great-grandparents from Ireland and my paternal grandparents from Czechoslovakia. Both families ventured to New York. Despite their different backgrounds, they were all hard-working, brave, devout Catholics with a strong sense of family and faith. My immediate family respects our roots and honors our religious and cultural traditions.
For decades, my mother's family has celebrated family milestones and holidays together.Although the location of family gatherings may change from one generation to another, there has been one particular item that has been a constant—my great-grandmother’s dining room table. Elizabeth Conroy left her family behind in Ireland in 1921 at the age of 19. She worked as a cook and eventually married and settled down in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York.
Her wedding gift was a mahogany dining room table. It has exquisite Queen Anne legs, it folds over to a display piece when not in use and it has a secret compartment. Relatives and friends from all over gathered around that table for christenings, birthdays, holidays, weddings and wakes.When my grandmother had the table in the 1980’s, my mother used it nightly to complete her college assignments.
In 1994, the table was given to MY mother as a wedding gift. She continued the traditions of two generations.