I am finally beginning my journey of “Chasing Molly”. I ask myself, what does “Chasing Molly” mean to me? I have been sharing her story as a docent at The Molly Brown House Museum for several years. Her home was her “roots” for so many years between her traveling and her passion for helping others. The museum provides a great opportunity to reach out to others and share her legacy from her birth to her passing. But I have never had the opportunity to step out of the museum and seek out what her life’s journey might have been like in other parts of the world. I thought that before our 100th Anniversary Titanic Memorial cruise, I would first visit New York City to see where she lived during her final years.
New York City was one of Margaret Brown’s favorite cities and she lived the later part of her life here,
“Chasing her Dream”. New York at the time was one of the world’s predominant cultural hubs and at this point in her life she was focusing on her own personal development. She moved to New York at the age of 60 to become an actress and made her home at the Barbizon Hotel. The hotel at the time was the earliest residential alternative for women moving to New York City to take advantage of the new professional opportunities of the 1920s. She established her home in a suite there and perhaps this was one of the happiest times in her life. She had seen so much change and progress with all the causes she had supported for so many years. Women could vote, women had a voice and had come to the front in many aspects of their lives, as she was now focusing on another dream she had in her life, becoming an actress.
New York City represents so much history for our country. It is a true symbol of the formation of our culture through the immigration of so many people looking for a new future in North America and freedom. There are so many significant landmarks that reflect this history for America, so we decided to visit Ellis Island.
The next stop was the Statue of Liberty, how magnificent. A true symbol of freedom for America. Since its dedication in New York City in 1886, it is still the most symbolic statue in America for freedom of choice. As we left, it crossed my mind how truly sad it is that there were so many immigrants on the Titanic who were looking forward to the moment of seeing this symbol of freedom. That moment never came for so many of them.
Unfortunately Margaret passed away too early in her life at the Barbizon Hotel in 1932. She was truly the “Daughter of Adventure.” She lived a passionate life and brought so much energy to every project she started.
Our last stop on this portion of our journey was at Holy Rood Cemetery on Long Island where Margaret and J.J. Brown are buried – about 25 miles east of New York City. I wanted to pay my respects as well as for all the volunteers from The Molly Brown House Museum who too are so passionate in telling her stories of her legacy. The headstone is a humble monument in an early area of a now very expansive cemetery. It was a very somber setting. I could only think it was such a small remembrance for a woman with such a powerful legacy. No matter the size of the headstone she still remains today larger than life.