I was on Ancestry.com a week or so ago and came across a Family Tree that was published by Judith Firenze, my cousin Louis’ wife. Attached to the information on Marie Kuba was the following comment:
Marie Kuba as remembered by Freda Hess Firenze, daughter
Judith1559 added this to Ancestry.com on 11 Nov 2010
Marie was born in Dolni, Cerekev which was Bohemia and after WWI became Czechoslovakia. She was a very good student and went to school to the eighth grade. They had four classrooms, two to a room. She learned to speak three languages. When she was 18, she left home and went to Prague where she learned to cook. There she met three friends. One came to America and wrote to them telling them the streets were lined with gold. She came with their friends, Fanny and Gusty. They took the ship before the Titanic. When her parents heard the Titanic went down they didn’t expect her to come to America, but she was already here. It has been told that Marie actually had tickets for the Titanic but took the earlier boat. They landed on Ellis Island, on Easter Sunday so they had to stay an extra day. Her friend Mrs. Salitimier met them. She got her first job as in cook in Sheepshead Bay. Her eyesight was very poor. When she got her first pair of glasses, she said she didn’t realize how green the grass was! Her parents were the first cousins and she seemed to think that was why her eyesight was so poor. How she met her husband, Frank Hess, is unknown. They were married at City Hall in New York City. They moved to Old Tappan, NJ and lived in a little cottage. Five children were born there. Anna and Marie couldn’t speak a word of English when they went to school. It was through them, however, that Marie leaned English. She didn’t want to speak German at home. When Freda and Ida were still babies, they moved by horse and buggy to a little home on Old Tappan Road which at one time was used for the hired help. At the first home they didn’t have electricity, so light was by kerosene lamp. The second house didn’t have electric when they moved in. Then Public Service came along and started to put poles in for electric. They got as far as the Engle farm. Mr. Engle refused to have them put the poles in. Supposedly, he jumped in the hole. Then later Rockland cam through and they had electricity. They had a hand pump in the kitchen. Also a cistern outside where water was collected to wash clothes. They own 3 1/2 acres of land. They raised chickens and had a cow and sold the milk for 12 cents a quart to the neighbors. They also had a horse. It was in this house that Frank was born. Bill was born in Englewood Hospital. They later raised strawberries and it was then that they made enough money to pay off the mortgage. Until that point they only paid the interest. During WWII, Freda’s husband, Carmine would take his leave from the Coast Guard at strawberry picking time. He would help pick and deliver the berries to an ice cream parlor in Park Ridge, NJ, or to fancy fruit and vegetable stores in Englewood, NJ. They had the biggest and the best strawberries!! When Marie became sick, Freda and her family went to live there. Marie was just a baby. If Freda and Carmine wanted to go out, Marie would sleep between Grandma and Grandpa. It was little Marie that one day noticed smoke upstairs and after insisting she was right, Freda took a look and she was right! The house was on fire. Marie was mischievous. One day she locked Grandpa in the chicken coop. She also would let the chickens out and would go to the basement and break the eggs. When Marie Hess passed away she was laid out in the living room. When little Marie saw all the flowers and candles and when lifted to see grandma, she sang Happy Birthday to her.
Memories recorded by Freda Firenze, daughter of Marie and Frank Hess.
I have been looking for the picture we have of Marie Kuba but I haven’t found it yet. Here is a picture of my Aunt Frieda (white sweater), my Aunt Frances (peach sweatshirt) and my cousin Marie Firenzie who is the little Marie in the above stories. This picture was taken at my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary party in July 1998.