A postcard my grandmother saved.
A postcard my grandmother saved.

My grandmother watched as work opportunities in Italy became increasingly difficult to find. She watched on as her new husband took off for America looking for work and a better life, leaving her behind to wait. In the years my grandparents were separated by the Atlantic, they could only communicate through postcards and letters, which is what they did, writing to each other almost daily. Once my grandmother got permission from the consulate to migrate to America after waiting four years, she did so. Filled with emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement, my grandmother boarded the plane to America, carrying with her only one suitcase. Still with just one suitcase, my grandmother did not neglect to bring the postcards and letters, symbolizing the years she spent waiting for this moment. She also carried with her a serving tray, an indication of a bride's role in Italian culture. It wasn’t smooth sailing once my grandmother arrived. She had to adapt to this new, unfamiliar life. Oftentimes, she frequented places where she knew the people were also Italian, to be more comfortable. Her homesickness did not ease up until she had her first child, who served as a reminder of why she had moved to the US to begin with. My grandparents sacrificed a lot, leaving behind their lives in Italy to move to America, but like many, they did it to better the future of their children. The postcards my grandmother has represent the importance of family, whom she would do anything for.

– Maria Bilello

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant