My name is Mary Lenke Protheroe and I am a wife to my sweet husband, Stephen, mama to Sigmund & Eloise. We live in the reforming Youngstown Ohio.
The Foregoer Collective is a collection of differing artisan crocheted items that are handmade with care. But more than that, it is a story of a rich love of my Hungarian heritage.
In 1952, my Great-Grandmother, Lenke Kerekes, arrived on Ellis Island with just her two boys and herself. My grandpa, Zsiga (changed to Sigmund), and his brother, Csaba, had not even lived a decade and experienced being uprooted from their home due to fleeing war and a horrible dictator. My Great-Grandmother Lenke decided their homeland was no longer safe and fled Hungary and waited until they could find a sponsor to come to the States.
When they arrived on Ellis Island and got their affairs in order, they made their way to Youngstown, Ohio and began a new life. My Great Grandmother eventually got a job at the leatherworks factory in Girard, Ohio. My Great-Grandmother was also an amazing seamstress, needleworker, and crocheter. I never knew until years after I started crocheting. Some years ago, my mom gave me a cardigan that my Great-Grandmother crocheted. She took this cardigan everywhere because she was always cold (another thing we have in common). The definition of Foregoer is “one who goes before”. That was my Great-Grandmother. She came to America before any of her family to give her sons a better life. I never got to meet this amazing woman but I cherish the art of crochet and working with our hands that we share.
In a big way, my small business is name after her. The one who went before me, Lenke Kerekes, my Foregoer.