This has been such a fertile time looking toward the past. Daily, thanks to my cousin Earl (an amazing genealogist) another chapter in the narrative history of my family opens up. I should write a novel -- well maybe novels of my family. Here is a bit of news that Earl sent me this morning about Madeleine Brittman my paternal grandmother, born in Paris to Romanian Jewish immigrant parents:
Over the years, I tried to find Madeleine's birth in Paris in arrondissements 4, 8, 9, 10, & 11 on the right bank, and 5, 14, & 15 on the left bank, before I struck gold last week with 18. Montmartre - the 18th - is in furthest district due north in Paris, and includes Sacré Coeur Basilica....When your grandmother was born there in 1904, Montmartre was "the" hotbed of artistic activity; home to Picasso, Gris, Modigliani, the Nabis, and of course writers such as Apollinaire and Jarry, the Naturalists and the Symbolists. -- The 18th wasn't the traditional district for immigrants or provincials, unless they had Bohemian souls. --- It's fascinating to think about your Romanian great-grandparents were living there at that fervent time!
Indeed. My grandmother was one to take chances even when the habit later warred with her desire to be a model bourgeois matron. I try to imagine her in that Bohemian world -- before she married my grandfather -- wanting to make something of her life that was very different from her six sisters, all who would remain in France within the close knit family while she ventured forth.