6th Grade 1994, Tri-County School, Karlstad, MN
Kittson County Historical Society Genealogy Essay Contest
Genevieve Gonshorowski, my grandma, was born on a farm in Roseau County on January 31, 1927. Roseau County is in Northwestern Minnesota. Her farm home was in Polonia Township near Greenbush, Minnesota. Her family went to church at a small parish near her home. She married my grandpa in church in October of 1947.
Growing up on a farm, my grandma was the second of four children, two sisters and one brother. They walked to a one room school about a mile away. My grandmother could only speak Polish when she began first grade. For a short time, about two years, Grandma and her older sister, Dorothy, went to the convent school in Warsaw, North Dakota. Grandma said the reason they were sent to a Catholic school was because it was the duty of a Catholic family to send their children to a Parochial school. She was very lonely there coming home only for the holidays. The sisters at the convent were good to them though. Grandma and the rest of the children were taught many subjects and piano and tap dancing. When Grandma got sick she was given hot cocoa and buttered buns. She was happy when she didn't have to go back though.
As a young girl, she worked on the farm caring for the animals, helping her dad, and working as a maid for a neighbor. Grandma Genny's dad farmed grain, raised livestock, and in the winter cut pulp wood to sell. Her dad also drove the Roseau County snowplow.
My grandmother has held many jobs throughout her life. Along with baby-sitting, she worked at the Hartz Store in Greenbush when she was a teen. Grandma Genny graduated from high school in 1944. She moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1945 where she worked for Brown and Bigelow in a war plant. They made rocket bombs. Before the war and at the present time, Brown and Bigelow make calendars, key chains, and remembrance advertisements. She lived near the State Capitol and walked to church at the Cathedral of St. Paul. After the war, she worked as a maid for her Aunt Barbara in Fairmount, Minnesota.
My grandma Genevieve Chrzanowski was married to my grandpa Felix Gonshorowski in a rural Greenbush church on October 14, 1947. They moved to Boston, Massachusetts for about two years. In Boston, she, my grandmother, worked for Raytheon welding radio tubes. Raytheon invented the microwave oven. Grandma and Grandpa went to baseball games at Fenway Park. The only things she liked about Boston were the pastrami sandwiches at the Deli and the fresh seafood. My aunt was born there and when she was six weeks old they drove home to Minnesota.
My grandparents settled in Minnesota where Grandma had many jobs. The hospital in Greenbush provided her work from that year, 1949, to present time. While employed there, she did many jobs, a nurses' aide, laundry work, and cooking. She has cooked there for over 40 years.
Some of the things Grandma Genny likes about Minnesota are, the wild flowers, especially the lady slippers, she has one growing in her garden. She loves the robins, the deer that come through her yard, and the changing seasons.
Many things have changed since Grandma was a child. Especially, the roads and easy ways to travel. The schools have improved and the town of Greenbush got a public library. Some things haven't changed, though. My grandma loves to read and garden. She makes the best baked apples!
It's fun when Grandma remembers things from her childhood. When she worked at the grocery store, hamburger was 50 cents for 2 pounds, coffee was 39 cents for a pound, baking soda sold for 10 cents a box, bulk cookies were 29 cents a pound, kerosene by the gallon was 29 cents and laundry soap was 2 cents a box! When the light bill was over $1.50 for the month, you were wasting electricity.
There are many things my grandmother has taught me: the simple things in life are the best, the importance of being a member of a family, and to always depend on myself. Grandma Genny once said, "Minnesota is the best place to live!" I hope I will always remember that.
I got my information from my grandmother, Genevieve Gonshorowski