Alarming News

July 20, 2010

An American girl

Thirty-two years ago today, my parents and I made the trip from Italy to New York. My mom and I had been released from prison, that is, the Soviet Union, three months earlier.

We had landed in Italy in April, on my first birthday, and my father was waiting for us, having come from New York where he had been for the last 9 months. They had not seen each other for over a year and I had never met my father.

My mother was carrying me as we got off the plane. After greeting each other my father asked if I could walk. Apparently I could. My mom set me down and off I scurried.

At the same time, in Haifa, Israel, lived an almost-3-year-old boy with a funny bowl haircut who would eventually be nicknamed the Israeli Commando (or, IC). In two years, his parents would move him and his new brother to America, to Queens. He’d go to college and meet a guy named Frank, who had a friend named Mike, who was my friend. We’d meet one summer night in a bar in the East Village. We’d become friends and end up living in the same building. And then, years and years later, we’d pretty suddenly fall for each other, date, marry and have a baby girl named Sadie.

She’s 5+ months right now and every day is a new adventure. Today she made this sound. Now she’s able to do this. I think about my parents, separated for the first year of my life and can’t imagine IC without Sadie. Even more, I can’t imagine the lack of communication between my parents for that year. My mom didn’t have a telephone, and letters and packages took forever to reach her. In a world with overnight delivery, email, texting, cell phones, flip videos, ichatting and good old fashioned regular telephones, this seems incomprehensible. My father had sent baby clothes during his own stay in Italy. My mom wrote back that they fit well…on my doll. My father didn’t know whether I could walk, a fairly significant milestone. IC was sad to miss the first time Sadie made a new sound: luh. My parents did what they had to do to get out. I wonder if my child, born and raised in freedom, will ever understand that. I hope she will feel lucky. I plan to remind her that she is, every July 20th, and many other days in between too.

Previous July 20th posts:

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

Posted by Karol at 12:06 AM |
Comments

Stunning.
Thank you. And best of luck to you and yours.

Posted by: Dan Patterson at July 20, 2010 at 12:21 am

Beautiful and touching meditation.. thank you for having the wisdom to be grateful…

Posted by: soopermexican at July 20, 2010 at 12:26 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ed Driscoll, Sister Toldjah and anthony, Karol. Karol said: Today is 32 yrs that I'm in America. I pause every yr on this day to remember: http://alarmingnews.com/2010/07/20/an-american-girl/ [...]

Posted by: Tweets that mention Today is 32 yrs that I'm in America. I pause every yr on this day to remember: -- Topsy.com at July 20, 2010 at 12:38 am

July 20th is a special day indeed. Congrats on 32 years here! You make this a better place.

July 20th is my wedding anniversary: My Child Bride and I were wed on July 20th, 1986. So you’ve got a few years on us in July 20th-ship.

Again, congrats.

Posted by: John Davey at July 20, 2010 at 12:59 am

Love the story!
It brings a lot of my own memories……..

Posted by: Nikol at July 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

No funny comment necessary here, just wanted to say nice post Karol!

Posted by: ronnie at July 20, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Keep Sadie away from this – Mom was born in a country which is no longer on a world’s map, in a city which also not there..Too complicated…

Posted by: Ark at July 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

Posted by: Veronica at August 15, 2010 at 4:39 am

[...] 2010. [...]

Posted by: Ode to Brooklyn at July 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

[...] 2010. [...]

Posted by: 34 glorious, American years at July 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

[...] 2010. [...]

Posted by: The big 3-5 at July 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm
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