Thinking about current events

My mother's father was an illegal immigrant in 1906. He came on the  visa of a relative who had died before he could make use of it.

You can see in this document that he arrived in 1906, renounced all allegiances to Czar Nicholas II and intended to become a citizen.

Papa intended to become a citizen in 1917, as you can see here.
He was already married and was the father of two children and was gainfully employed as a wood worker.

My grandfather though,

never appeared at his petition meeting. He knew that he had arrived using false papers.

My grandfather never became a citizen. He was also not deported.  Had he been deported my grandmother would have possibly raised my two aunts here in New York as a single mother. Possibly my grandmother would have returned with my grandfather to either Frampol, the tiny Ukrainian town my grandfather had come from or to Czernowitz the place my grandmother had escaped from just ten years before.

In all likelihood deporting my grandfather would have meant that my grandparents and my aunts would have been killed in the Holocaust. This is just a matter of simple mathematics. The draconian American immigration laws of the 1920's probably would have made it impossible from my grandparents to attempt to immigrate again. The odds of surviving the Holocaust from that corner of the world were not great.

I am able two write this post because my grandfather came here using papers that were not exactly kosher.

And now, a different topic.

I received a call that I first thought was a wrong number this morning. The caller asked for Evelyn. It turns out that the caller was my husband's 85 year old cousin Joan who lives in Houston.

Joan and her husband Les were evacuated from their home by boat and then deposited  in the parking lot of a drugstore and told that FEMA would come get them. FEMA did not show up. Instead, Joan and her 87 year old husband were loaded up on the back of a flat bed truck and were brought to a hotel. They were able to get the last room in the hotel.

By the next morning it was clear that the hotel would need to be evacuated as well.  A hotel employee was new to town and was staying with her sister and brother in law until she got settled in Houston.  She gave up her room  and had Joan and Les stay with what for them was a family of strangers. Joan and Les stayed with this (Mexican) family for several days until their daughter was able to come back to Houston and set her parents up in her house.

Joan said that although they have probably lost their house, they feel like they have gained a new set of grandchildren in the family of their rescuers.


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