By Sr. Margaret Hoffman
On both the Irish side and on the German side it was economics that prompted my grandfathers to risk coming to America as very young men. The Irish story was desperate, prompted by famine. My German grandfather at least had learned the jewelers’ trade before he came from Bavaria, but it was a long time before he was able to use that skill–language and prejudice holding him back. Meanwhile his family expanded to 11 children, and at first so did their poverty. His eldest son, my father, went to work in the local steel mill because of family need. He didn’t achieve his high school diploma until his forties!
Now I look back and marvel at the opportunities I have enjoyed as a third generation U.S. citizen, including the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in art at Stanford University!