International Women’s Day…

Brilliant, strong women! We all strive to be one! Our maternal Great-Grandmother was the youngest of sixteen children born to a tea house owner and his wife in Northeastern Hungary. She emigrated to the US in 1900 and shortly after met and married her husband who also had emigrated from Austria-Hungary. They settled in the Caldwells where they opened a small Mom and Pop store. One day a man in a very snazzy suit came in bearing a machine our Great-Grandfather was not familiar with. The man in the suit said he wanted to set the machine up in the family’s store and their customers would win money every time they inserted a coin and pulled the lever. Our Great-Grandfather agreed believing this would would entice more customers. Entice wasn’t the word. Their customers were annoyed and angry. Every time they pulled the lever, the machine simply ate their money and they received nothing in return. Complaints came in fast and furious until one day our Great-Grandmother announced enough is enough. She demanded “Snazzy Suit’s” business address from her husband and trotted off to confront him. When she arrived at her destination, she discovered a faux storefront. There was nothing inside other than some desks and a table where a group of men were engrossed in a game of poker. She asked for the boss. A man, with his back to her, held up his hand. She marched over to him, hit his hat off his head and announced, ” When a woman is in your presence, you stand up and remove your hat! Show respect!” The other men scrambled to their feet and removed their head coverings. Mr. Snazzy Suit asked how he could help and she demanded that he remove the machine from her store. She said it was not good for business as her customers were losing money and going elsewhere for their goods. She stated she wanted the machine gone by the end of the day or she would pick it up and smash it in the middle of the road. With that, she turned on her heel and marched out the door. The machine was gone that very afternoon! Several years later, our Great-Grandparents were sitting on the porch of our Grandparents’ house enjoying an Indian Summer afternoon. Our Great-Grandfather was reading the newspaper when he started to cough and turned red. Our Grandfather patted him on the back and asked what was ailing him. He pointed to the newspaper. The article he was reading was about the murder of the mafioso Willie Moretti. Our Grandparents were puzzled. Why was he upset that a member of the Mafia had been killed? It was Willie Moretti who had installed the infamous device which was a slot machine in their store. It was our Great-Grandmother who told him off not knowing his true identity! Our Great-Grandmother commented, “I guess he never learned how to show respect.”

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