Celia’s Best Friend

Previously on Entering the Pale (thanks, Merril!) Celia was living with Uncle Max and Aunt Anna Goodstein.

Before we move forward and look at Celia’s life in the United States in those early years, I want to mention Celia’s best friend.

She and Bertha Coleman met on board on their way to the United States. They were both young women in their late teens traveling alone, without benefit of family or friends. So it makes perfect sense that they would bond as they entered a new country and a new life for themselves.

According to the ship manifest, Bertha was a 19-year-old tailoress who hailed from Warsaw, Poland. She is on line 27 on pages 1 and 2.

This friendship seems important to me for many reasons. I imagine that it was much safer for two young women to travel together rather than to be completely alone. And I would think that they took a lot of comfort from each other. The manifest shows that Bertha was traveling to a friend, not to family, so I would think that Celia’s friendship meant a great deal to her. At least, Celia found a family for herself when she arrived. Celia, though, was 17, two years younger than Bertha, so it’s likely that Bertha being older was a help to Celia.

Do you think they remained friends after they got settled in the U.S.?

They not only stayed friends, but when Celia was elderly and in a nursing home in the Bronx, she lived with Bertha! Now that is a long friendship.

I tried to find records at Daughters of Jacob, but it has been changed to Triboro Center For Rehabilitation And Nursing and they claim to have no records of the “old days.” Celia passed away in 1982.

There are two possible buildings her room could have been in. One is the classic Daughters of Jacob building on Teller Avenue in the Bronx. It’s gorgeous, and the gardener remembers a rather grand entrance.

Here is a pic from Google Maps showing the overall layout of the unique building.

Or she could have been in the high rise that is next to it.

I wish our memories could be trusted to know for sure. But the gardener remembers red brick and not a building as tall as the tan one.

36 thoughts on “Celia’s Best Friend

  1. I too have a family member who spent their last years at The Daughters of Jacob. I would love to tour the older building. It certainly is unique. What an absolutely sweet and touching friendship these too woman had. Are there any pictures of Celia and Bertha?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, what a small world! I can imagine that at street view you can’t see the beauty of that building and that’s why the photos have to be taken from below looking up at it or from above where you can see the layout.
      As for photos, alas not that I know of. I would love to see a photo of the two of them together!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Did Bertha ever marry and have family Luanne? I had only seen a street view of the building and had no idea what it looked like from above. I never knew how unique this building truly was.


  2. What a remarkable friendship! I imagine they must have spokenYiddish as their common language, having come from different countries. It’s interesting to imagine what they had in common despite coming from different places—obviously enough to create a lifelong bond.

    Where is that building in the Bronx? It is quite interesting looking. I was born in the Bronx, and my husband lived there for his whole childhood, but I’ve never seen that building before.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a wonderful insight into an otherwise lost relationship…… and that old building is an absolute wonder! It is a shame about our memories – you met Bertha, possibly in that beautiful old building. If life were a movie there would have been long camera panning and soaring music! So glad to be catching up on your research!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline, that sounds so beautiful! Part of the reason my memory seems “cramped” to me is that the rooms were not big inside (which is what I most remember) and I was shy about meeting people or being around more than one or two people. How I wish I could go back in time and relive certain memories to pay more attention!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree – we miss so much due to our temperaments or mood of the moment – I have huge gaps in my memory simply because I wasn’t paying attention to the world I was focused on my own insecurities. Thank heavens we outgrow that stuff – now I’m just absent minded because my brain is full up 😀 I remember things that have a music accompaniment either in reality or I had a song go through my head at the time…….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Truly an amazing friendship. I can’t remember the name for buildings designed in that hub and spoke way, but I do remember being told that the original idea came from the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham,and that the design was meant for hospitals and prisons, so that a relatively small staff in the hub could manage a large patient/prisoner population. Stuff I remember! Now if I could only find my glasses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can imagine that they really relied on each other! It must have made things less hard. And, yes, that building is really something! It’s hard to believe we can’t remember which building she was in?!

      Liked by 1 person

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