We all know Grandma. The giving old skinny woman who lives in her old-fashioned ways. Well, believe it or not, she wasn't always old or lived old-fashioned ways!
The story begins when she was born in 1900 (yes, Grandma is over 100 years old) in New York City as Agatha Jane Parker. She was born to a wealthy Jewish father named Frank and a strong woman named Kate. As the years went by, her father brought her up in the Jewish faith and she went to an all-girl school, one of the best in the city.
After school she always went straight to the synagogue. She would pray, help out the rabbi and talked to the people who entered the synagogue to ask for advice. Agatha was always good at giving advice and made excellent grades in school. Her family always thought of her becoming a psychologist -- they had always wanted her to be a professional, even though she was a girl. But in 1915, her mom was struck with a mysterious new contagious disease as she wandered around New York. The disease claimed many many lives. There was no cure at this time and the people were not used to it so they died.
On December 21, 1915, Kate Parker died of the disease, only 12 days after they had named the disease Why Pox. After her mother's death, life for Agatha had gotten harder. Her father wasn't home much. He had fired all of his staff so he wouldn't have to pay them and was forced to work 6 days a week from 8am to 10pm. He became an alcoholic.
Agatha was left taking care of her 6 brothers. Her grades dropped dramatically, and she only went to the synagogue once a month. She started losing her faith -- at first, she started not keeping a kosher home. Then she stopped going to the synagogue for a week... then a month... and then, after you know it, six months. Life still didn't get better...
Part 2 to come later....
Editor's Note A terrifically engaging story, Softcandy! How do you other folks imagine the history of Whyville's workers and helpers?