A Hero’s Journeya Thursday Theme entry
I never knew either of my grandfathers. My maternal grandfather died 6 months before they were married, my paternal grandfather died shortly after I was born. When I met The Mister’s grandfather, I immediately adopted him as my own. He fit the archetype with his shock of thick, white, unruly hair and an “I don’t care what you think of me” attitude.
I was fortunate to share Sunday afternoons with him for 3 years. During those visits to the nursing home the details of his life unfolded before us. His beloved wife was there too. Listening intently as he spilled his story. We had the forethought to capture a part of his story on tape.
When he was 12 or so, things became unbearable for Jews in rural Russia. His parents and his younger siblings stayed on as they urged him and his older sister to try to come to New York. He had two older sisters who had made their way to Brooklyn already. They were to join the sisters here.
The two set out and headed West, picking up small jobs along the way. They slept in barns. They made a cave their home for a winter as they watched the armies of WWI march across Poland. They were cold and hungry as well as ill-clothed. People helped them along the way, but mostly, they were shadows.
Eventually, they both made it to Antwerp where they managed to scrape together enough money to make the passage to America. These two teenagers had traversed a continent using only their cunning and wits to guide them.