We truly are a land of immigrants. Unless you are American Indian, you are most likely either an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant. America was founded on the basis of freedom of speech and religion and was a haven for people escaping persecution.
While I do believe we need stricter rules regarding immigration, I don’t believe in the raids that are happening and the building of walls. So when I got an email from Global Citizen with their latest campaign celebrating the stories of immigrants I couldn’t help but share it with all of you. The campaign is called #ThisIsAmerica and Global Citizen is inviting everyone to tell their story.
I am not sure if I know the true story of my father and there really isn’t any way to check it out as both my father and sister have passed on. My father’s parents both fled Russia. I was told my Grandfather was a professor at a university in Moscow.
It wasn’t very long after his arrival here that my grandfather was killed in a hit and run accident. My grandmother died shortly after that leaving my father and his sister orphans at the age of two and seven. I have no idea how my grandmother died. But my father believed his father’s death was suspicious and told me he would never go to Russia.
I learned all this when I was 28. My father never talked about his upbringing. He was separated from his sister. He went to live in an orphanage of boys in Philadelphia. My aunt lived with a family. I heard he would walk miles to go see her. I was shocked to learn all of this about my father. Suddenly many things made a lot of sense…like why he was always a little distant.
I also learned my dad studied architecture years later. His sister asked me to go through her house and take anything I wanted. This is when I discovered his drawings. They were beautiful. I don’t know why she wouldn’t let me take those. I knew my dad as an engineer and sales guy who was gone most of the year on business while I was growing up so learning he had studied architecture was a complete surprise. I always wondered what else I missed out knowing about my father.
As I write this I am realizing I don’t know that much about my mother’s heritage. I will have to ask her. She’s been digging into our family history on my dad’s side and we are uncovering some mysteries that will probably never be solved. My grandfather’s death certificate was signed by a mysterious Pavlika who we think is a cousin. But why did he not take my father under his wing but instead left him to go into an orphanage? We will never know.
Anyway, this is my father’s #ThisisAmerica
Story. What is your story? Why not it add it to the Global Citizen #ThisIsAmerica page? I’m sure you have a story because after all we all immigrants in one way or another, right?
At the very least these stories need to be handed down to our children and not lost forever. And mothers are typically the keeper of family memories.