Childhood Friends

I feel that I grew up in a neighborhood of great diversity – not the diversity of 2020 but rather the diversity of the 1930’s and 1940’s. And it was the backgrounds of my playmates and classmates that interested me. They were all Americans, so far as I knew, with the exception of the 2 exchange students Anne-Lise from Heidelburg Germany and Nicole Gaston from Luxembourg. But either the parents or grandparents of many of our classmates had emigrated from Europe and eventually became U. S. Citizens.

One of my playmates was a little girl named Martha Gugger. Looking her up in the 1940 U.S. Census, I find that her parents were from Switzerland. Digging a little deeper I found that her father emigrated in 1914 just before the First World War. In 1919 he returned to his home in Switzerland and then entered the U.S. again from Montreal. He applied for Citizenship in 1921 and it was granted in 1927.

Her mother emigrated from Switzerland in 1923. The couple married in the late 1920’s and lived in Cambridge on Massachusetts Ave. Their neighbors came from Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Canada, and even elsewhere in Massachusetts. Their son Edward was born in 1931 and their daughter Martha in 1935.

In the 1940 Census the father is listed as a home owner of a house worth $4,500. His annual income was $2,600. His occupation varied in description but he was a graduate of a 4 year university, with a degree in mechanical engineering. He could speak both French and German.

He was born in 1890 and died in 1970 at the age of 80. He and his wife were still living at the address on Pine Street in Belmont. The son is still living, age 90, in Burlington Massachusetts. The daughter Martha married soon after graduating from high school. Her married name was Doyle.

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