Follow-up

So we had two outstanding mysteries.  First, the Emily Bergan and her delightful suitcase.  Second, Aloysius and his intriguing body art.  And now, thanks to the powers of the internet and its amazing ability to collect knowledge from all over the place and put me in touch with awesome people who know things, we have answers.

The first comes from my dad.  He looked up our friend Emily and found the following:

Emily Bergan (ticket number P.C. 22573 aboard the “Queen Mary” – Cunard White Star Ltd, which matches the tag on the suitcase) had a cabin (e.g., not steerage) on the voyage that departed Southampton on 4 Feb 1949 and arrived in New York on 9 Feb 1949.    She is shown as a British passenger.  Her last address in the UK was 83 Oswald St., Accrington, Lancaster.  Her “country of future permanent residence” is shown as U.S.A.  Occupation is shown as housewife — age 55 with no accompanying children.  No middle initial shown, but other records indicate this is Emily L. Bergan.

I thought that she could have been one of the 100,000 British war brides who came to the US after WWII (there are only 6 males listed on this page of the passenger list — compared to 20 women with 5 children, all under the age of 5), but later that year (July 1949), Emily Lavinia Bergan was issued a crossing identity card at Niagara Falls, NY.  Her address was shown as 1416 Rio Ave, Cleveland, OH.  She was born 19 Oct 1893 in Wigan, England, and came to the U.S. in February 1949 aboard the Queen Mary.  At this point, she is already shown as being widowed.  She is described as 5’1″ tall, weighing 130 pounds, fair complexion, with gray hair and gray eyes.

Naturalization records show Emily Lavinia Bergan, born in the UK, became a naturalized citizen on 25 Feb 1955 (at age 61) in Cleveland, OH.  That record shows her date of birth as 19 Oct 1893 (so probably the same individual).

That same year, Emily L. Bergan was shown as living at 1666 Woodview Blvd, Parma, OH.  She was shown as being the widow of Harry Bergan.  (He may have been a U.S. serviceman who died during WWII, but I cannot find anything that shows that to be the case.)

In 1958, 1959 & 1960, Emily L. Bergan was shown at the same address.  In 1958, she was shown as being a nurse.

There is a record for Emily Bergan (same age as the person shown coming on the Queen Mary in 1949) who died in May 1979 in Parma Heights, Cuyahoga County, Ohio at the age of 85.

So that looks to be Emily sorted then! You can even see pictures of her first house if you’re so inclined.

And, as for Aloysius, it looks like we may know a bit more about his former life.  Chris wrote to me and said:

Your new knitting prop, Aloysius?  He’s a block used for wig making.  The lace would have been pinned on along the intended hairline to do the ventilating – and he was definitely a male block, unless a beard for Baba the Turk in Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress was required.

Here’s how wigmaking is done:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PL9B2590A5684951F9&v=NRp0vZ_RsJk

Here’s a wigblock being utilized:  http://makingwigs.blogspot.com/2011/12/finished-wig-cap.html

All of which is absolutely fascinating.  I hope he adapts well to his new life as a knitwear model.  I think it sounds like a lovely second career!

New Arrival

I have a big head.  I’ll pause for a moment for you to insert the obligatory joke here.

This big head thing makes it a bit challenging to block my hats.  Esmeralda helps, but she has some…protuberances that my head doesn’t currently have.  Luckily, the Chez Violence Home for Wayward Knitting Props is an accommodating place, and we’ve always got room for a new resident.  May I present Aloysius?

DSC_0083His head is pretty much exactly the same size as mine.  And, like most of the characters pressed into service as knitting props, he seems to have had an interesting life.  He’s covered in wee pin holes that indicate that he was not loved merely for his pretty face.

DSC_0089Someone very exacting did something very interesting there…I’m just not quite sure what.

I’ll be using him a bit more gently (no pins, just the odd bit of damp wool).  His first task will be to block a lovely purple hat (the one I finished last year and have been shamelessly remiss in getting a photo of…look for the pattern next month).  I think he’s up to the task.