Spindle of Staircase

Spindle that now rests by fireplace.
Spindle that now rests by fireplace.

On my fireplace’s mantle rests a wooden spindle covered in chipping, cream-colored paint. After my mom and aunt traveled to Northern Ireland, it became clear to me that this spindle was originally a part of the staircase in their grandfather’s house before immigrating to America. Upon visiting this abandoned house, my mom and her sister found that the part on our mantle still fits into a missing spot in the decaying staircase!

When my great grandfather, Hugh, immigrated to America on May 3rd, 1930, he escaped his father’s mistreatment and lived with a host family until buying his home in Albany, NY. My mom and aunt grew up going to his house every weekend. To this day, they speak so highly of him and tell my brother and I about the time they spent together whether it be playing in the corn maze or going ice skating in a nearby pond .They describe him as being strict and disciplined, but also fun and absolutely hilarious.

Though I was never able to meet my great grandfather, I know his hardworking nature and sense of humor will live on in my family. I will forever respect the risk he took immigrating to give himself and the next generations of our family a better life.After every holiday dinner, it is tradition to spend time together in the living room by the warm, crackling fire. While we sit around the fire talking and laughing, the spindle may look like a piece of old wood to most, but to my family, it is a constant reminder of our family roots.

Place(s): Northern Ireland
Year: 1930

– Georgie Reiss

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