Category Archives: 1900 – 1950

Family (China)

At first, I thought it was just a cold. He had all the signs of a cold – he coughed at night, he sneezed, had headaches, had a runny nose. I urged my husband to stay home for just a day. He worked as a waiter at the Golden Pheasant at night and ran a small pharmacy during the day. ... Read More »

A Storied Life (Japan)

Only a few short months off his ninety-first birthday, sitting cross-legged in a recliner that he had owned long before my birth, my grandfather told me, “My life isn’t all that exciting.” My grandfather is a private and simple man. He is the type that would much rather spend an evening watching a baseball game with a hearty homemade dinner ... Read More »

WWI Refugee Starts Over in California (Italy)

Prologue: Battle of Caporetto, Italian military disaster during World War I in which Italian troops retreated before an Austro-German offensive on the Isonzo front in northeastern Italy, where the Italian and Austrian forces had been stalemated for two and a half years. October 1917 saw the Italian army’s disastrous defeat at Caporetto and its eventual retreat into the distant Piave ... Read More »

The World Was His Oyster (Singapore)

Carl, my Grandfather, passed away on March 14, 2015. Before then he would always tell me stories of great wisdom and symbolism. Though it wasn’t until I was older that I realized how incredible his own life story was and how it connected to these intricate tales I heard growing up. Grandpa was always a wise and honorable man, although ... Read More »

Fight or Flight – The Story of Harry Newman Knopfer (Poland)

The trees whizzed by me; I knew that if I stayed much longer I’d be killed. In the days right after the first World War, you could never trust anyone. After what felt like hours of running, noises and light began to appear. The hammer of a blacksmith, the cry of a baby. This is what I’ve been looking for. ... Read More »

L’dor Vador (Ukraine)

It was a sunny afternoon in Los Feliz, California when my great-grandfather Avram Yitzhak Lehrer, fondly called “Opi” by his children and grandchildren, sat in his garage smoothing out the figures of his latest sculpture, “L’dor Vador,” meaning from generation to generation. In the sculpture, 19 figures stand with their arms around each other, radiating from a Torah (the Jewish ... Read More »

The Immigration story of Robert Johnston Carson (Ireland)

“Honk!” The foghorns call fades as it slips through the ears, and feet clamber unsteadily up the swaying dock towards the ship waiting beyond. The weak wood, barely held together through the metal spikes impaling them, cries out as it’s stressed. The salty breeze stings the eyes and rips through the sails, whipping the air. The breath hitches in the ... Read More »

Journey to America (Netherlands)

Geert Dijkstra, born on November 16, 1911, spent his early years living in the Dutch countryside just outside Leeuwarden, a city in the province of Friesland. As a boy, Geert enjoyed a fairytale-like Dutch childhood, playing rugby, fishing in the dykes near his home, and frog-hunting in local meadows and bogs. At the age of 18, with his education completed, ... Read More »

Story of Mary Kathrin McDermott (Ireland)

Where in Ireland was Mary from? Having been there what did you think of the town? How does it compare to America? Mary was born in 1914 and was from a small town in Ireland called Leitrim. She was the oldest of 10 children in an extremely poor family who made their income by rolling and selling peat bog. Her ... Read More »

Skiing to the Dream (Norway)

Gunnar Rebne immigrated to the United States from Stor-Elvdal, Norway, a small town of nearly 1,000 where most parents started to teach their children to ski at the age of five. Rebne was a young man who wanted to see what the American Dream was all about, so at the age of 20 he decided to take a boat to ... Read More »

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