These are my Grandparents who began their life together with a Honeymoon trip to America. Rudolf & Elsa grew up across the street from each other, but never really met until after both had come to America, then returned to their families in Grossgartach.
In April 1925 Rudolf made plans to go to America to see what farming was like there. He’d heard about Henry Ford’s $5.00/day minimum wage (5 times what he could earn in Germany) and he decided to go see for himself. He spent 3 years in America, traveling cross country in an old Model T Ford Roadster. He had many adventures from the east coast to the west and back, returning to Grossgartach in September of 1928.
He described arriving at the train depot, without a soul in sight as he started walking to his home. Then, turning left onto his street, he caught sight of a young woman coming diagonally across the street “in a way that was beautiful.” He told me, “I felt inside, ‘Here comes my woman, my bride.'” And so it would be. Elsa had gone to America in 1912 when she was 17 years old. For several years she worked as a housemaid in Peoria, Illinois.
She and Rudolf met, and found they had much in common. The both wanted independence and together they determined to return to America, in hopes of a better life. Times then in Germany were very hard. So on September 28, 1929 they married, and in November they set sail on a honeymoon cruise to America. My father, Arthur Laemmlen was born 9 months later in California.
Below is Rudolf & Elsa’s Marriage Certificate and the Ship Roster.
Here is an article my mom, Grace Laemmlen wrote about their travels to California, where our family was raised.
I loved living next door to my Grandparents. They were a huge part of my life growing up. I really miss them. They had a good marriage that lasted almost 60 years. Today I remember them, grateful for the paths they chose to follow.