I hold dear in my heart the "American Dream" that my father’s parents had when they came to America in 1915.
My grandmother, Angelica (Nellie) was a Polish immigrant who came to the United States with her brother, Jozef Nortovsky, after the deaths of their parents, a brother and a sister. Nellie was only 15. She met my grandfather, John Makauskas, who was from Lithuania, on board the ship that brought them to Ellis Island. He was 18.
After the immigration process was complete, and their last names were changed due to not being able to speak English, Jozef and Nellie Norton settled with other friends and relatives in a little town called Thorndike, right outside of Worcester, MA, so did John Makosky; and they began to court.
My grandparents married in 1916. She took a job as a seamstress, and he worked in a brass foundry. They began a family with two daughters and, in 1923, my dad Joseph was born.
As soon as the children were school-aged, they began teaching my grandparents to read and write in English, just as they had learned.
In 1933, my family packed up all their belongings, gathered their savings and bought a huge house on Capitol Avenue in Bridgeport. The kids grew up playing at the Barnum & Bailey circus grounds near Seaside Park.
My dad and his sisters finished school, the girls got married and dad went off to college and soon served in the army during World War II. He met my mom in 1956, and they married and bought a small home in Trumbull. My mother stayed home to raise the children and dad worked.
Things were simpler then. Houses were easier to buy and educations were easier to pay for.
Although my "American Dream" is to send my kids to college, today’s factors don’t make it so easy. Education expenses are outrageous, and the cost of living is so high. Hopefully they each will excel in school enough to be afforded grants and scholarships in addition to the loans my husband and I will need to secure for their futures.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go back in time?