Here in this charming photograph, sisters Mary and Genevieve Mirota are getting ready for a dance, practicing a duet. They are posing on the side porch of their home in Readington Township, Hunterdon County, NJ. Mary is wearing the breeches and Genevieve the pretty dress. Genevieve Mirota (1909-1978) was almost four years older than her sister, Mary, but they were the best of friends from the time they were children. Many of the local dances they attended were at the parish hall of Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, in Whitehouse Station, but some were also held in the barns of local friends. They both loved dancing, especially boisterous polkas.
Genevieve and Mary worked as mother’s helpers in the early 1930s. Earlier I posted about Mary’s work at the Lydecker’s home in Middlesex, NJ. Genevieve worked for a family in the nearby town of Bound Brook. The two sisters could sometimes meet each other when they got off from work in the evening, and they would take in a film at the Bound Brook Movie Theater. They also rode back and forth together on the Jersey Central Railroad from the depot in White House Station, about one mile from their family farm, to the train station in Bound Brook which was close to both of their employers.
In the Polk’s Somerville and Bound Brook Directory of 1930 (found on ancestry.com) Genevieve listed herself as a maid, with her residence at 211 East High Street, Bound Brook. Since I knew she worked for the Bascom family, it was easy to find them in the directory. Listed at the same address were: Bascom, Perry H. (Kath), patent lawyer (Brooklyn), h 211 E High. Genevieve took good care of their children and also did many chores around the house. Truthfully, from letters she wrote back then she really was a maid, and sometimes an overworked one, but the Bascom family seemingly treated her fairly.
In this picture from May 1930, Genevieve and Mary are resting after hiking to the top of Pickle’s Mountain, also sometimes called Cushetunk Mountain, in Readington Township. On the back someone wrote, “Mary and Genia getting an eye full.” I know just where this spot is, since I often hiked on this mountain with my own siblings. The view overlooks the valley below, with the Mirota farm nestled below, too close to the mountain to be seen from the top.
In 1933 while at a dance at Manville, NJ, Genevieve met her future husband, Theodore Lubas. They were married at her local church, Our Lady of Lourdes, in August of 1934. Mary also met her future husband, James, at a dance, one held at Our Lady of Lourdes. While their paths sometimes diverged through the years as they raised their families, they always found time to meet and re-kindle their deep affection for each other. In one of Genevieve’s letters to Teddy while they were courting she wrote, “Mary is the very best sister and will make someone a very fine wife.” Mary often said, “Your sister should always be your best friend.” The Mirota sisters were true kindred hearts, best friends, and wonderful role models for this genealogy sister.
2 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – Mirota Sisters . . . Kindred Hearts”
These look like simple and innocent times until you remember how hard everyone had to work and struggle to get by, especially during the Depression Years. In a letter Gen Mirota wrote to her then finance, Ted Lubas, she mentioned her heartbreak at losing all her hard earned savings when the bank in Whitehouse Station went belly-up. No wonder her mother always saved their cash in a tin can hidden in the dirt under the raspberries! Hmmm. Now might be time plant a few rows of raspberries.
The resilience of our family that belonged to the Greatest Generation always inspires me to face each and every day with hope!