Milk can

My great grandparents were Polish immigrants that came to America through Ellis Island in the early 1920s. Because my grandparents were farmers in Poland, they traveled via ferry up the Hudson river to Amsterdam, which at that time had available land and a sizable Polish community. When they moved to Amsterdam, they bought roughly 100 acres of land and turned it into a dairy farm. The work they took on as milkmen seems like a coincidental gateway to their American identity. Not only were they able to own their own small business, but by having such a cultural niche in the community (the stereotypical 1950s milkman), they became American even though they didn’t speak English. My grandfather was born on this dairy farm. Under his supervision they transitioned from milk delivery to a larger business that homogenized and pasteurized dairy, made skim, regular, and chocolate milk, cottage cheese, and butter. Their product was sold to local stores and supermarkets.My mom also grew up on this farm, and saw its passing as a large accidental fire destroyed the farm. We still have relics like this branded tin milk can all over our house. It serves as a reminder to me of my families history and how different cultural artifacts can “persist” and retain memory even though their function changes over time.

Year: 1920

– Troy

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