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My Blog

Coming to America After the War

Good morning to all.  Hope your weekend was full of fun and sun. 
Todays blog is about my in-laws. Recently a friend was talking about going to Kentucky.  I was telling her about some of the great places to visit and since that discussion I have been thinking about my in-laws.   
Since I had been married...my mother-in-law especially, would share stories of their time during the war.  She spoke of how she ran from the soldiers with her family into the woods in Poland and hid for almost a year.  She shared how they came to America and where they went.  That just happened to be Kentucky.  She always mentioned that she wanted to return to the place they first came to....just to see what it was like now.  So, 14 years ago, while she was still living, we took a road trip to Kentucky.  She had received a letter once from the owners of the farm that sponsored them here.  After they had been captured they had been in a work camp.  That is where they came from, straight here to America. 
So one day, I packed up my husband, granddaughter and mother-in-law into our big, green Dodge van and off we went.  The destination...Bryantsville, Kentucky.  My mother-in-law was quite thrilled...not only because she was going to revisit her first home in America, but also, this was her first real vacation.  We drove what seemed like forever, stopping along the way for meals and rest stops...she told us tales while we drove.  You could hear the anticipation and excitement in her voice as she spoke.  We finally arrived in Bryantsville.  I must say, it was such a small town that the sign that welcomed you, also said you are now leaving.  Well, with out the aid of current day navigation, we managed to find the address that was on the letter she still had.  Once there, we pulled up to a gated home. Now the gates were open, but my husband didn't want to drive through.  I looked at him like he had lost his mind!  We had just driven hundreds of miles to get there and he wasn't going to go up the driveway?  I insisted he drive in.  The entire trip up the driveway he kept asking me what I thought I was going to do.  When we reached the top of the driveway, I simply looked at him and told him I was going to ring the doorbell.  My husband just kept shaking his head. I never cease to amaze him with the things I do.  I rang the bell and a servant answered the door.  I explained who I was and why I was there.  The original owners had passed away and there were new owners now in possession of the farm.  She kindly told me that the owners were not there at the present time, but was sure that they wouldn't mind us looking around.
I got back into the van and told my husband to drive up further onto the farm and that I had gained permission to walk around.  My look on my mother-in-law's face was priceless as she exited the van.  She was in total awe as she stood on that ground and looked around.  We had taken a video camera to videotape anything special and if this wasn't special...I don't know what could be.  She proceeded to walk to an area that was a cement patioed area.  There seem to be a bordered edge to the area.  She told us that was were they all lived.  She, her husband and son...now my husband.  It was quite a small area...evidently they had torn down the building and make it into a serenity type spot to sit and enjoy.   She stood there in the center of the spot that she once lived and told us story after story of how they lived.  They only had one bed, and the three of them slept huddled together there.  Their son was 1 years old at the time.  She spoke of how much the weather in Kentucky bothered her.  She told us how my father-in-law knew about dairy farming and how he had tended the cows and the milking.  How he would be able to have the cream from the milk and she would make butter.  She also spoke of making bread as well.  They weren't paid a lot of money, so their meals were meager.  They saved as much as they could so that they could one day be able to move and live on their own.  We walked the grounds one last time before I went back to the house and thanked them for allowing us the chance to have her see her very first home in America.  We all piled back into the van and headed on.  She was so thrilled she was just about bubbling over.  I am so glad now that we had gone on that trip.  Glad that I had that video of her and her stories.  Some days, generations to come, will know of their struggle and their courage.  They will have the chance to see and hear their ancestor tell of their quest for freedom and a future for all of theeir future family members.  There life was hard and filled with difficult moments that they managed to overcome.  How grateful I am that I was able to be part of that historic moment.  I am so happy to have been able to grant her wish.  I miss her a lot these days.  She had lived with me until her passing.  I hope that she enjoyed the days she had left and am sure she is smiling down on us today.  And I smile too, knowing that her story is safe with me and will be here  to pass down through the years.  Her  STORY....it is priceless.  Do you have one? What is yours? 
 

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