My cousin Serhij began life in the Ukraine. While he was still a little boy, his family was taken to a concentration camp.
Because Serhij was the smallest, he was the one who snuck out into the fields at night, in search of any vegetables that had been missed. I cannot imagine the terror that filled his mind, and I cannot imagine the sorrow of a mother who had no choice but to send her little boy on such a dangerous mission.
Some of Serhij's family survived; some did not. The fortunate ones sailed to America and settled in New Jersey. Serhij's mother lived to be a very old woman who--even in her 90's--insisted on working on her own roof and breaking up the sidewalk in front of her house when it needed repairing.
Mama W never learned to speak English. She lived in a Uke neighborhood, went to a Uke church, and when she died, she left behind only one person who had suffered in the same way she did back in the old country---Serhij.
Serhij married a cousin on my mother's side, they had two children and proceeded to live the American Dream. They worked hard, they eventually were able to buy a nice house, and now they have grandchildren and a winter home in Florida.
|photo by Jake Coffey|
My cousin is 100% American. He knows better than most how wonderful our country is. Yes, he still goes to a Uke church, and he could be living with fewer luxuries and his flag-waving would not waver one iota. And, Serhij would still be in love with America, even if the monetary things he accumulated all fell by the wayside...
...as long as his wayside remains in America...