On the TV show Who Do You Think You Are?, actress Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink) looks into her family history which includes an ancestor named Kjersti. She was a coal miner’s wife who lived in Nebraska in the 1850s. When her husband Carl died, she and her children moved into what was known as the Widows’ House, where 20 widows lived with their children.
[Molly Ringwald is the author of When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories]
The coal mining company provided something to the widows but “clearly not enough.” The widows were forced to beg for food in order to survive. It was particularly difficult during the winters. “It sounds to me like the mining company didn’t take care of the widows very well after. They just seemed a little forgotten,” says Ringwald. Who Do You Think You Are? airs Sundays at 9pom on TLC.