Russian Fairy Tales

Poverty, fear, and helplessness are not themes you’d find in fairy tales. Instead, such feelings were felt by my family members after they immigrated to the USA in 1992. In their first year, my parents and brother lived with my uncle's family; nine people living in a small two-bedroom apartment. My dad and uncle would search for unwanted furniture in the streets and once even had to share a small $1 hot dog for lunch. Most fears were a result of entering a new country with only three hundred dollars, no knowledge of the English language, and no guarantees of employment. Despite their hardships, they always came home with the hopes of a bright future. Every weekend, my parents read Russian Fairy Tales to my brother and my cousin, showing them that many stories have happy endings. My family strove to make their immigration story have a happy ending as well. My dad worked long and hard hours making less than minimum wage ($4.25 per hour) while my mom received a PELL grant and went to college, even though the language barrier complicated things for the both of them. Their hard work was rewarded a year later when they moved out of my uncle's place and were able to rent their own small two bedroom apartment. If you fast forward 23 years, you won't see my family reading from the book; however, we do display it on our bookcase. It serves as a reminder of the hard immigration and that even though we aren't fictional characters, we got a happy ending of our own.

Year: 1980

– Jessica Pinkhasov

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