Silver Candlesticks


When my Nana got engaged at the tender age of 16, she received these monogrammed candlesticks, now slightly dented for reasons I’ll likely never know. I don’t know a lot about the circumstances in which they were given to her—possibly as something to include in her dowry, as they are monogrammed with the initials of her maiden name, Marchionetti. Nana’s parents, my great-grandparents, were from different places: her mother was French, and her father was Italian. I’ve often wondered if they spoke French or Italian at home, or just English? I know that my great-grandfather left New York when Nana was young, to work on the Panama Canal project, which at the time was spearheaded by France (the US would later acquire the contract to complete it). Sadly, he would die of malaria in Panama, leaving Nana and her mother to fend for themselves. I can’t imagine how they survived such a loss, both emotionally and financially. Though it may explain why Nana was working as a salesgirl at Macy’s, where she met my grandfather, when she was just a teenager. I still have a lot of questions about Nana’s life. I wonder if she really met Eleanor Roosevelt. Nana was an active Democrat, and she admired the First Lady and renown humanitarian greatly. I never thought to ask her. It’s funny how so many things about the people who came before us remain mysteries because we wait until it’s too late to find out.

Year: 1890

– Aracy Troxell Winter

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