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Showing posts from November, 2017

To the Ones Left Behind

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For those of us whose ancestors came to the US long ago, the thoughts of those left behind may no longer fill our minds. However, for recent immigrants and refugees, those left behind are a constant presences in their lives. Everyday, I see this in the faces of those to whom I teach English as a second language. Everyday, I walk the tightrope of asking students to share experiences, while praying they do not fall into the PTSD caused by living and escaping the unimaginable.

The stories of my ancestors are fragmented at best. I know some dates. I know some facts. I can only imagine the rest. 

My mother's father, my Grandpa, was first generation American. Born in NYC shortly after his family arrived from what is now Slovakia. Doing my genealogy, I have learned that the family returned to the Old Country when he was a toddler and returned when he was 14, just months before the start of the First World War. At that time, Kosicka Bela (now Kosice) was part of Austria-Hungary. Who knows w…