All my grandparents emigrated from what was then known as Russia in the early 1900’s. None of them wanted to come to the United States. Forced to flee from pogroms, anti-Semitism, discrimination, the Tsar’s army, (which meant 25 years of conscription for Jews) and political tyranny, they came to a country that did not welcome them. My grandfathers were not vocationally prepared to earn a living. My grandmothers’ talents could not overcome the obstacles of gender, language, prejudice, education, opportunity, and financial instability.
After writing my memoir, Breaking the Silence, published in 2020 by Terra Nova Press, I thought about the traumas my grandparents experienced and the difficulties of my life with my parents. I wondered what, if anything, had been passed on, intergenerationally, to me. As I wrote what I knew about my grandparents and parents, I discovered patterns that hadn’t been obvious before.
What do you know about your ancestors? How do you know what you know? Did you think to ask them about their lives while they were still living? Do their lives matter to you? What, if any, influence does their experience have on you?
Life tales from a woman different living in The City Different.