Part II Edward’s Story

By: Anonymous

Eddy was a handsome fellow born in Seneca Falls, NY to his immigrant parents who fled Hungary a decade earlier for the United States to get away from the Revolution that was tearing their country apart. They made it to Ellis Island and moved to Seneca Falls. At the time, Seneca Falls, a growing town at the north end of Cayuga Lake, had many immigrants who came to work in various industries and farms. A reliable worker was rewarded for their labors in their town. Eddy’s parents found Seneca Falls to be so welcoming, they named Eddy’s older brother, Fall, after the town.

The Seeas were a lively couple. Gyeorgy and Hajnal embraced their new life in America. Gyeorgy worked for the local sawmill during the day. He was a skilled cabinet maker in Hungary and grabbed up any leftover pieces of wood from the mill. With those, he would create all kinds of things. If the pieces were large enough, he would make pie cabinets. Smaller pieces were made into wall shelves of various sizes. He would whittle animals, people, houses, plants, with the boards too small to be of any use. These, Gyeorgy would gift to people randomly. He was so adored that his boss, John Mason, looked the other way when the leftover pile gradually became nonexistent. Envious co-workers complained for a while until, one by one, each received his own figure specially created.

Eddy’s mother Hajnal was a talented seamstress, stitching clothes, quilts, and coverings of any kind with fine skill. She worked for a dressmaker who invested in the newly invented Singer sewing machine. Hajnal was afraid of it first. One night she stayed late at the shop and took the whole thing apart and put it back together again just so she could understand how it worked. This would have upset the particular shop owner had he known.

Also going on during this time was the beginning of the Women’s Rights Movement. Eleven years before Eddy was born, The Seneca Convention was held in 1848. Along with many others, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglas were part of the convention of three hundred. The “Declaration of Sentiments” written by Stanton was a statement about equal rights for women, including the right to vote. The members of the convention were also abolitionists. After the convention of 1848, the residents of Seneca Falls were a little more thoughtful about the lack of rights for women and most women enjoyed less restraints there. This was the climate that the Seea boys grew up in. They didn’t have much in material wealth, but the Seeas were kind, industrious, and respectful.

Fall and Eddy were too young to have been involved in the Civil War, so they helped their mom and the other people in town collect scraps of cloth and leather, old shoes, dried meats, and whatever else could be of use. The Seeas knew lots of families who were missing one or more sons.

The boys attended school up to the sixth grade. Fall and later Eddy worked at the lumber mill with their father. Fall left that job at the age of 17 for an opportunity to work at the locks. He loved working on the water. He met all kinds of characters working on the locks. 

In the spring of 1880, Fall Seea met a young woman named Helen while he was traveling on a barge down to the southern tip of Cayuga Lake. She lived on the inlet near the waterfront with her family. She and her parents had recently arrived from Bavaria. They met when she was carrying laundry to her house. Fall offered to carry it, ended up staying for dinner, and fell in love with Helen, her family, and the colorful town of Ithaca. They married within a month and settled in the area near the inlet near her family.

While Fall was away, Eddy had married a young woman who he had been courting for a year. The families were full of hope and excitement that young love emanates. Their marriage was cut short when Eddy’s young wife died after coming down with influenza.

When Fall found out what happened he went to see his brother as soon as he was able. Eddy cried when he saw Fall, realizing how much he missed seeing him. Fall asked him if he would like to move to Ithaca. “I have a job at the on the docks. It pays good. Come with me Eddy, just try it for a while. If you don’t like it, you can come back and stay with Ma and Dad.” Eddy was torn. While he had a good job at the lumber mill, he was tired of doing the same old thing. He was distraught from losing Elizabeth. This would give him an opportunity to get away and start new.

After thinking it over, Eddy gave his answer to Fall the next day. “I will go to Ithaca with you. It might be a good change for me.” It was hard to leave his parents, but they had many friends that had become part of their family. He knew they would be okay. What Eddy didn’t know was that his mother had been corresponding with Fall inquiring about the possibility of him taking Eddy to live with him to give him a fresh start.

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