Wednesday, November 25, 2009

up on the roof

My Grandmother took the big boat from Poland to the United States right before World War One or the Great War as it was called back then. Her plan was to make some money in the land where the streets were paved in gold and then return home. The war, meeting my grandfather and eight children changed that plan forever. America could claim my grandmother's feet but her heart and mind never left Poland. In Poland there are Catholics, Jews and medical doctors and my mother was a Baha'i and a chiropractor which explains the constant perplexed look on Ma's (that is what everyone called her) face. Never becoming fluent didn't help matters-"what" was how she always answered the phone, but still there was an almost supernatural bond between mother and daughter. Whenever we did not know where are next meal would come from when my mother was struggling to work her way through chiropractic school in Davenport, Iowa an envelope would arrive with ten dollars(a small fortune back then) and a couple of words for "my Mary". The words were never "I love you". Ma would have thought that telling a family member that you loved them was craziness. They were your family, even if they were going to hell and practicing some kind of most likely illegal medicine they were still your family. My mother returned home in the dead of winter sleeping in her car on the way. Late at night she knocked on the one door that would open. She had two pennies in her purse and one mother.

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