Monday, May 5, 2014

Martha Virginia Conrad

Martha Virginia Conrad or Aunt Margie which we had known her by was the wife of my Uncle Al. She was born on April 30, 1912 in Pennsylvania. Her mother was Sadie Conrad who was born on July 4, 1889 in New York and her father was James Miliegan Conrad who was born in Sugar Runn, Pennsylvania on December 22, 1882. Martha had six brothers and sisters; Herbert, Harry, James, Anna, Grace and Melvin. By 1920 the family was living at 298 Bradford Street in Brooklyn. The father, James was working as a mechanic and all of the children were attending school. The 1930 Census showed Aunt Margie working as a clerk in a laundry and living with her family at 238 Sutley Avenue in Brooklyn. All of the children were still home and Sadie was separated from her husband. Somewhere around this time Margie met Al and married him on July 16, 1931.

One of the stories I remember most about my Aunt is that she had sang professionally and was on the radio. I remember that she had a deep voice and she loved to sing the song, "You made me love you." Her singing career didn't last long and it was prior to Margie marrying Al. Another story that she always liked to tell was after getting married by the Justice of the Peace, they went back to my grandfather's house and that night she slept with her sister-in-law, Tillie while Uncle Al went to work delivering milk.

The other story that stands out in my mind is that while my Uncle was in the service she had worked as a riveter for Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation thus we were reminded often that Margie was a "Rosie the Riveter".She was proud that she had served her country in this fashion during the war.  "Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women's economic power." I wish we had a photograph of Aunt Margie in her overalls.

Margie also worked for Double Day for the book of the month club division in the 1950's. I remember she was delighted to work at such a fine publishing company. They lived in Farmingdale during this period of time. Al worked as a plumber.

When they moved to Florida I visited them a number of times. One time I think this was the first time I traveled alone I visited my Aunt and Uncle and we spent some time in the Everglades. One of the restaurants that we always went to was the Kapok Tree Inn the ultimate tourist attraction with its wonderful atmosphere.

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