The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My grandfather always had a dream of coming to America but he would always be given a reason that he wasn’t able to. Finally his only alternative was to serve 3 years in the military and he was finally granted permission. It was tough for him to leave his family but he finally decided to and embarked on a long journey across the ocean.

For years he struggled to finally get this opportunity. From military service to payments and endless paperwork and waiting. The moment seemed like it would never come at any point. But one day after three years of military service before it could be approved, the telegram came through. He was finally granted the visa he long awaited. He could not contain the excitement. He yelled in the empty room with the lamp hanging from the ceiling “finally I can start to change my life, I can build something”.

He had to prepare what little belongings he had and prepare how he was going to bid farewell to the only family he has know his entire life. Every shirt, bracelet, necklace, photo, and anything else brought back such specific memory flashes as he placed them in his bag.

It was a tough time for him, all he could think about was what reaction his beloved father would give to him. His father had spent his entire life teaching the ways on how to farm and raise livestock properly. His brothers were destined for the city and would not be willing to take over. He knew it wouldn't be easy but it had to be done.

He approached his father to tell him the news and was feeling very nervous and filled with anxiety. When he finally mustered up enough courage to break the news he spoke “Dad I'm leaving for America Monday, my visa was granted.” What came next was very unexpected.

His father responded softly with “I understand my son. You've worked your entire life under me. It is time for you to travel somewhere in search of better opportunities for yourself. Plus there are a lot of Polish women moving to the States.”  He thought to himself 'thank you father' and then energetically said "Father I will make you proud and help as much as I can"

The rest of the weekend he didn't do much just sat and thought to himself about what his new life could be like. He thought of the images of New York city he had seen with the grand buildings and fancy cars, and countless taxis, as well as all the people all in one place. He knew it would be different but also knew it was for the best.

Coming sooner than anyone expected it was now Monday which meant it was tie for his trip to begin. He departed from the village on a bus to the city of Lublin where he would then take a train to the capital. Once he finally got to the capital after hours on the train, my grandfather accompanied by his family set forth to the airport. Once they got there he saw the plane just sitting there with crowds of people around it. He had never travelled by plane before so he was taken by its sheer size and design.  

A loud shout "Now boarding!" came from somewhere in the crowded area full of people huddled together, waking him from his daydream. It was time to board. He walked up the ramp at an easy pace just taking in the last breaths of his homeland before he left. Once he got to the top of the stairs leading to the entrance of the plane he swiftly turned around, waving to his family as a cold bitter sweet tear slid slowly down his rosy cheek.

A Grandfather’s Journey

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1973
Poland

My grandfather always had a dream of coming to America but he would always be given a reason that he wasn’t able to. Finally his only alternative was to serve 3 years in the military and he was finally granted permission. It was tough for him to leave his family but he finally decided to and embarked on a long journey across the ocean.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by William Czupak on March 13, 2019
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