Grandma Zwier was a remarkable woman. At ninety she was as sharp as one of the pins she used to hem her dresses. While serving tea and cookies in her little senior apartment one day, she abruptly turned to me and said, "Well, I sure haven't made a name for myself; maybe one of you grandkids will."
That struck me forcefully, for two reasons.
First, why would a poor immigrant woman with an eighth-grade education even think she could have made a name for herself?
Second, grandma and millions of women like her should have made names for themselves. They were pioneers and saints who made America what it is today. Like many, she was born abroad, labored, struggled, prayed, loved, laughed, bore children, tilled virgin soil, sent sons to war, was widowed, cared for others' children, and much, much more.
This book is my effort to honor her name and those of others like her. I hope that readers who not have "made a name for themselves" may also take comfort and inspiration from the story of her life.