Willy always missed his family in Germany. He wrote to his siblings offering to pay to bring them to America and help them build their new life. Willy was the only family member to leave Germany and immigrate to America. His siblings never lived farther than 25 miles from the family home in Schmirma.

Willy Geheb's sister, Helene

Helene was the youngest. In 1931 she wrote:

Dear Brother Willy and Sister-in-law Irma,

I was so happy to get your dear letter. The master and mistress here hire girls to do all the rough work, and they don’t want to pay anything. I have repeatedly said to the mistress that I have come here to learn sewing and not for the dirtiest work. Well, when my year here is over, I will look for a place where I can perfect my cooking and baking.

Dear brother, you mentioned my future. Later when I have thoroughly learned something, I want to become a housekeeper. You wrote about my coming over there. I thought about it a lot and was convinced that I would do it. But, dear brother, to leave our parents would have made me unhappy for the rest of my life. It would take a heart of iron. I know that I would have my dear brother and sister-in-law over there, but parents cannot be replaced.

I am not really interested now in getting married. When I go to a dance, there are 3 or 4 fellows who want to dance with me right away, so I am not so popular with my girlfriends. The lads always say that I am the only one they like to dance with, and that I have such pretty red cheeks. They say that there is something about me, and whoever gets me for a wife wouldn’t be buying a pig in a poke. And that’s how it goes. One thing for sure: wherever we go, people envy our parents their children.

Family is So Far Away
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