Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Fourth of July

I enjoy the 4th. It's always meant a lot to me to be an American. Growing up during the Cold War years, and the child of a career Air Force man, I was acutely aware of the freedoms we have. My dad was a first generation American, born to immigrants who escaped the devastations of middle Europe early in the twentieth century. According to the story I remember my dad telling, my step-grandmother, the only Grandma I knew (and loved fiercely) escaped by night with her family, hiding in ditches. When, at last, they arrived at Ellis Island, her family told her not to talk. She had a stutter, and immigrants who were less than perfect could be refused entry to the land of "your huddled masses, yearning to be free."

Grandma married my grandfather when my dad was about 2 years old. His own mother had died in childbirth during the great flu epidemic (1918) in Chicago. She was a wonderful woman, who cured every ill with food. "Eat, eat. I got lots," I remember her saying. Whether it was my homesickness on a weeklong visit, or a Sunday family dinner, food was always plentiful.

I'm proud of my heritage, what little I know of it. I'm proud to be part of people who kept trying for a better life.

1 comment:

Cassie said...

You forgot to mention how wonderful Bapa was. With his 8th grade education he was brighter and smarter than any college graduate I've ever known.