My great-great grandparents are my heroes. They left Germany as Hitler rose to power. First my great-great Grandfather, Henrick Jesdinsky crossed the ocean and came to New York City as a pastor. Later Martha Jesdinsky and their two children Ruth and Karl followed. Between the four of them they had two large trunks. Large enough to fit all 225lbs and 5’6” of me! One of those trunks is in our shed and someday I plan to use it as a coffee table. The Jesdinsky’s moved out West here, where I currently reside one block away from their one bedroom home.
Watching America and the direction she’s taking makes me think What would great-great gramma and grampa say? I commend their bravery. Like a lot of people I half jokingly talked a big game about leaving the country should President Trump be elected. Now that it has come to pass I find we need angry, liberal, hippie trash like me to provide some balance to this screwy situation.
I especially want to recognize the bravery of my Uncle Karl. Great Grandma Ruth was 13 when she moved from Germany. In their portrait together I’d place my uncle at about 11. I don’t know, Great Grandma Ruth remembers him pretending empty spools of thread were motorcycles in their apartment both in Germany and New York.
My very brave Uncle Karl became a translator in WWII. I was told he’d never talk about it. Like most little brothers Uncle Karl had a pension for irritating his older sister. So while Great Grandma Ruth was German my Great Uncle Karl was Polish. Because the Jesdinsky family came from the German/Polish border.
I can only imagine these people’s bravery… I only got to meet one of them, and that was Great Grandma Ruth. She was just as American as me! She never taught any of us a word of German, save for my father who was this close to being an exchange student in Germany but at the last second wound up going to the Netherlands. The ones who longed to know German the most were her six children. My grandfather, my uncle, and my aunts.
I cannot imagine… Leaving your country, praying God had something better for you! The day she left my 13 year old great grandmother had her first kiss. Generations later we found out Henrick had a brother named Ferdinand! Ferdinand moved his family to Australia, literally half a world away! I have cousins on the other side of the world who speak with thick German accents and still know the tongue!
Here I sit today. Most of the German I know is expressions of endearment, niceties, and swear-words. I’m about as American white bread as it gets. I’m Wonder bread from Hostess! I also have ancestors that came over on the Mayflower!
My internet friend from India has gotten me pretty worked up lately by offering to help me moved to Kashmir. The mere thought of abandoning the country I’ve been taught to love more than life itself since I could comprehend is outrageous!
But watching a leader of this country try to tear apart freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and make measures to make sure immigrants like my ancestors can’t come in… It sickens me to my core!
I can’t believe the country I’ve been taught to love more than life itself is behaving this way! Religious freedom, free speech, and immigration are what made this country great before Donald Trump ever got a-hold of her! (What I want to know is where are the other two branches of government that are supposed to be keeping him in check?) America! We can’t let this happen! Holocaust Remembrance Day just passed us by! Doesn’t being Muslim today sound an awful lot like being Jewish then? We all said never again! Let’s make sure that it never happens again! Let’s strive to see that no family of four feels the need to hop on a plane with two large pieces of checked luggage.