I’ve been waiting a year to use that photo. Yes, that is the liberty bell, a copy of the one in Philadelphia. I believe the bell and parts of the park were donated by Americans and Canadians, the bell in particular by Americans in 1976. One year ago today we were in that park; on July 4th itself we were on a plane, flying back to New Jersey.
So, what does the United States of America mean to you? I am especially interested to hear if you do not live here.
As I have talked a bit about my mother’s parents (see, for example, Greetings from Mariampole), now I am going to mention my father’s parents. In brief, when my grandmother was a little girl in a shtetl (I always think of a shtetl house as one that had dirt for floors instead of wood or linoleum or marble or whatever – she lived somewhere in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) she had to hide under a bed to protect herself from a pogrom. Soon after that, she and her family came to the United States of America, to New York City. On my grandfather’s side, his family came from Poland (from Głogów or Glogov). He and his siblings were fortunate to come in the early part of the twentieth century; he had cousins, however, that were caught in Europe in World War II. Supposedly, they hid from the Nazis and survived by hiding in the sewers. I feel so fortunate to have escaped these experiences (a pogrom and hiding in a sewer). And to have a beautiful family and home, and to be able to express myself without fear. Well, maybe a little, the general “opening up in public” kind of fear, not the Stalinist lock you up in jail sort. My maternal grandmother once spent the night in jail in the Soviet Union, but that is a topic for another time. I don’t even know that much to tell about it.
Perhaps this is taken in Far Rockaway? They did live there for a while when I was little. Any New Yorkers know?