Monday, April 28, 2014

Ottillie Theresa Ohnmacht Graduation

Ottillie Theresa Ohnmacht or Tillie as she was known by her family and friends was the fifth child born to Gertrude and Gottlieb Ohnmacht on March 23, 1915. It is interesting that on January 12, 1915 the United States Congress rejected the proposal for women to vote. It is hard to believe that it wasn't that long ago that women won the right to vote, certainly during my mother's lifetime.

I use to think this photograph was of my mother Ottillie when she graduated from grade school. Now I know that it is a picture of my Aunt Gertrude. According to the 1930 Census my Mother was still attending school at 15 in Lindenhurst. I have her school ring and there is the year 1930 engraved on the ring. My Mother enjoyed school and wanted to continue but many girls in those days did not go to high school. Also financially impossible due to the Great Depression. Her girlfriend Louise Nicholas did graduate from high school and went to work for Babylon Milk & Cream full time.

If this was a photograph of my Mother the flowers that she is carrying in the photograph would have been from her friend Louise Nicholas. It was the custom to receive flowers on the day of your graduation and so both friends picked flowers from their gardens and sent them to one another. It was also the custom of the day that you wear white to your graduation. Here you can see my Aunt in her vintage hi-top white button boots. The boots is what gave me a clue that it couldn't be my Mother, she would have graduated in 1930's rather then 1910's, by 1930 women were no longer wearing hi-top boots.

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