Comment 42219

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted June 19, 2010 at 16:57:36

This is tangential to the discussion, but I thought it worth sharing.

I can only hope that for the immigrants that come here now, they can have an experience like I did last night.

My mother, a wonderful lady who works part-time at Best Buy, hadn't visited Germany for three decades, and she was finally able to go this year and visit relatives, including some she had never met.

So last night I saw a staggering, staggering amount of photographs and history... and heard stories.

She had toured the coal mines my great-great-great grandfather and his son worked in. I saw pictures of some of the items he used (e.g. the lantern) are still kept by the family.

World War Two... words cannot describe, of course. Such a mess. Such a tangle. Talk about leaving a country and not wanting to bring all of the country's values with you... I saw pictures of the military hospital my great-great grandmother worked in, and more of my grandmother who was able to come here not long after (Not that popular of a decision at the time, to marry a German girl and bring her home, but my grandfather did - and she built a life here). There are dozens more of just that time I didn't get to see.

At the same time, I heard stories of families still there, who had stayed and rebuilt lives - everything from working as servants in homes of large families... to the couple of modest means my mother stayed with... to more distant cousins (one and his wife drive matching Alfa Romeos and own a vineyard for fun... :) wow).

I'm speechless and amazed at what my family has come from, what they've done and who they've become become. I'm proud of my grandmother who came here and lived a life of quiet dignity, free from the values that ran so counter to her own --- at the same time, bringing an incredible wealth of dignity, skill as a seamstress, and respect for people with her. I'm also proud of family who are still there and have built lives for generations. I'm incredibly proud to know more of both my family who stayed, and my family who left. And I want to be someone who does good here too.

I hope that the immigrants of today will get a chance to have the same experience one day and see good lives here and good lives of family who stayed... , even if the experience is, as mine was, secondhand through my mother's eyes. I wish them a good life in Canada and their family well at home if they choose to stay - of course every country and every political situation is different.

And I certainly hope that they find this country one of acceptance, freedom, employment and a rebuilt life as mine did. I hope they get to leave negative things like racial prejudice and discrimination behind, and use their strengths... and I hope that their kids will grab onto the opportunity this country holds just as the parents did.

The "how" is always tricky, but I hope the end result - and good things - for all.

Comment edited by Meredith on 2010-06-19 16:06:20

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