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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Immigrants

Proud to be American. That was my grandparents.

In the summer of 1955, my grandfather, grandmother, my mother and uncle, left behind their family in Germany in search of a better life in America. My mother was barely three years old. The family was sponsored by a Southern California Lutheran Church, that helped them get an apartment, some furniture, and employment.

They immersed themselves in American culture, not speaking much German, as my grandparents believed that they were now in America, and they should learn English. That they did. Until the day she died, my grandmother would get frustrated when immigrants here in Orange County, where the culture is very diverse, didn't speak English. She would say, "I had to learn English, so should they!"

I recently came across an old suitcase in my attic. It is one of the few items we have left that made the nearly 6000 mile journey from Europe to America. I thought it was a fair representation for what America stands for, the place where everyone has the right to come and pursue their dreams. For my family, those dreams became a reality in 1955.



What does America mean to you?

22 comments:

Rachel said...

Came over from Beth's for the You Capture... my family also came over from Germany in the early 50s! They were sponsored in Kansas though. :) My dad was also very young when he came over (born in 48, believe he came over in 52). They always spoke German at home (and still do) but I didn't get to learn. :( One of my biggest complaints... my dad is fluent in German, my mom in Spanish, and I speak English only!

Bobbi Janay said...

I love the story behind the trunk.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Beautiful!!!

Steph

Tiaras said...

LOVE THIS! My MIL still has hers from her trek from Germany to the USA over 60 years ago!

myfallingleaves said...

Wow - the pics and story are both so fitting.

astitchaday said...

What a shame they stopped speaking their native language. Beautiful case, the stories it could tell!

mrsukyankee said...

That's fantastic!

Jade said...

Oh, I love old suitcases! I just think of all the stories they could tell.

Zee said...

Love both the story and the pictures!

Clare B said...

Great story to accompany your pictures. I've recently made the reverse trip - currently living in Germany and trying to learn the language. A slow and steady battle.

scidstuff said...

Beautiful!

Barb http://www.rayballard.com

Lisa said...

Such a great story behind that suitcase. An immigrant country is truly America!

Colleen said...

What a wonderful story and it truly is what America is about.

Kirsten said...

Beautiful story. Beautiful picture.

Jen said...

You're right, that is an excellent representation of America! My great grandmother immigrated from Italy.

anneawesome said...

I love this!

Life with Kaishon said...

Oh my goodness. You did such a lovely job telling a story with pictures and words. Wonderful post. I am so thankful to live in America. We are blessed beyond measure.

Alice said...

i love the trunk shots - very beautiful! i enjoyed your story of coming to america. to me - america is being free to be ... me. where else in the world could i just be ... me. with no worries, no threats, no concerns, i love it here in this country and i wouldn't go anywhere else for any reason.

Suzanne said...

Oh my gosh, I love this post. The photos, the words. Beautiful!

(Suzanne @ pretty*swell)

Kelli said...

Wow!! Awesome!! What a great story!! And what a perfect shot and story for America!

Tylaine said...

That is a beautiful memory and a beautiful picture! What a great legacy they left. I just love what you mentioned your grandma said about others learning English! I hate that and could totally rant on that but I'll spare you :) I immigrated here 10 years ago and I do love America! I absolutely love my homeland Canada and I absolutely love this great country too and am very blessed to live here!

Alysha (Supermom) said...

I have writen something in this box like 5 times but then errased it because words can't really describe. Beautiful story Kristin! AND how lovely to have something from when they came to America. Thanks for sharing this story. :)