Gift Ornaments

In Fun
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Gift Ornaments
Gift Ornaments

When my great-great-grandfather, John, was only 16 years old, he immigrated to America with nothing but a note that said: “to Charleroi”. He didn’t talk about his childhood, so, by now, the true story is a bit messed up. This is what I grew up hearing.
My family lived in a small town in Slovakia during the late 1800s. They didn’t have much money but John was still able to go to school. One day, although we are unsure why, he brought a firearm to school. Somehow, it went off and hit the teacher. John was horrified, he ran home thinking that he had killed his teacher. When John told his father what had happened, John got on the next boat to America. They knew of a Slovac neighborhood just a few miles south of Pittsburg; Charleroi. After that, my family in America almost completely lost touch with our Slovac side, until recently.My great-grandmother, Midge, became increasingly interested in our history, as she grew older in life. Midge was able to contact some part of our family still living in Slovakia. They sent letters back and forth for a while, although neither one spoke the other’s language. Eventually, we were able to set up a trip to the house John grew up in. Luckily, the family who lived there let us in. Since Midge made contact the first time, we received gifts and ways to remember the Slovak side of our family. Every year, at Christmas time, we display these presents around the house, proud of our history.

Place(s): Slovakia, New York

– KER

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more