Having grown in a family of nine children I know what is is to fight for a piece of the blanket. I know how it feels to suffer bowel and bladder problems trying to get a chance at the bathroom, (which was not only shared by my family but the others on the floor). I know how it feels never to have privacy.
I married to share a bed with only one other person. Now, due to the ‘Spanish flu’ I had it all to myself. A whole world to myself.
The flat was long and bright and airy. One entered into a large front room. Two corridors led off, one to the kitchen dining area, the other to the bedrooms.
I used the large bedroom at the back for myself. One of the smaller rooms was where I kept all my supplies, another is where I had my finished garments and a sewing machine. I turned the front room into my ‘office’. There were many chairs and a sofa, and it was here the women came. I had another machine in this room to do quick fixes.
I did not worry about finance, I rented out the shop downstairs. That rent, along with my dressmaking paid my bills and gave me pocket change.
As every one could see, my social life was the Church, which was in walking distance, visits to my family and the Garment District in Manhattan.
As too many men showed interest in me, (more honestly, my property) I no longer allowed myself to be a widow in her twenties available for marriage, but settled into the matronly Miss Maria.
I covered my hair with a cloth scarf, wore no make up and baggy clothes. I acted as if I were in my forties.