Recently my granddaughter had to do a project for school about her ancestry. I was glad I could contribute somewhat to her project. Both sets of my grandparents were immigrants. One pair emigrated from Russia and the other from Poland. I know my grandmother left Poland just as WW1 was breaking out. I don’t know for sure about my Russian grandparents. I am guessing about the same time or a little before the war. I shared all I knew with my granddaughter which was not very much. That is what prompted me to write about this.
My grandparents and both of my parents have been gone for some time now. What I miss having was their stories. I have no doubt my grandparents could have shared what their life was like in Russia and Poland; what prompted them to emigrate to New York; how they managed to get out of their respective countries; where they went to board a ship that took them to Ellis Island. Sometimes immigrants' names were changed at that port of entry. I don't even know if my grandparents names were changed. These things were never talked about. All I knew as a child was that the grandparents lived in New York City for awhile before moving to the ‘country.’ The country was actually 2 small towns In the Catskills. One set lived in one of the towns. The other set was in my home town. Being a kid with such weighty things on my mind like how soon I could go outdoors and play with the neighborhood kids, it never occurred to me to inquire about my heritage. Neither my parents nor my grandparents ever talked about their lives prior to being in the U.S.
I now find that regretable and kind of sad. Everyone of us has a story, an important story. Our stories matter and ought to be shared. There is so much we can learn from each other; so much we can contribute that can make a difference.
What is your story? Do you know your heritage? There is something unique and special about everyone of us. I believe it is important to pass on our wisdom, what we have learned. What is the legacy we would like to leave? We all have a purpose or we wouldn’t be here. We may not always know what that purpose is, but be assured that we can have an affect that can be realized in generations to come.
An example of one practice that has wended it's way through the ages is noted by Elayne Boosler: My ancestors wandered lost in the wilderness because even in biblical times, men would not stop to ask for directions.
Comments are welcomed.