Aunt Alice and your Gram were orphaned here - both were born in California of Portuguese parents. [Here Alice wrote "John and Mary Silva" and crossed them out.] Antonio Sylvar Pestruit and Maria Nicarda Pestruit. Just looked this up. Have Aunt A's letters to priest in California. Don't look at them very often. That is why I made a mistake (above). Mama was a year or two older than Aunt Alice. Apparently their mother and father separated when the girls were very small - perhaps even before Aunt A. was born. My mother used to tell me about them going to visit their father (who evidently was a fisherman) down near the water - where he lived with somebody they called the stepmother. He seemed to have kept the boys with him. Ma used to speak of a Tony, a George (I think) and a William. She spoke of a baby (brother - I guess) laid out in a casket..., on the table - so there was sorrow there as in all families.
The girl's mother brought them east by train. Seems she sold their house. Ma spoke of their mother sewing gold pieces in a sort of belt around her waist. She evidently thought she was dying (and probably was - by the way Ma used to tell of the way she acted - and how very pale she was.) The girls were placed in a home on Huntington Ave. Boston - then called by the (awful) name of Home for Destitute Catholic Children. Have an idea that is where most of the gold pieces went - to help care for the girls.... No record was found of a baptismal certificate for Ma. Have an idea that there was a change of residence between Ma and Aunt Alice's birth. (Just a guess.)
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