Leaving Home at 15
I was only fifteen when I finished my high-school studies, always having held first rank in my class. The fatigue of growth and study compelled me to take almost a years rest in the country. I then returned to my father in Warsaw, hoping to teach in the free schools. But family circumstances obliged me to change my decision. My father, now aged and tired, needed rest; his fortune was very modest. So I resolved to accept a position as governess for several children. Thus, when scarcely seventeen, I left my fathers house to begin an independent life.
That going away remains one of the most vivid memories of my youth. My heart was heavy as I climbed into the railway car. It was to carry me for several hours, away from those I loved. And after the railway journey I must drive for five hours longer. What experience was awaiting me? So I questioned as I sat close to the car window looking out across the wide plains.
from Autobiographical Notes p. 163.