Saturday, May 15, 2010

Being 60 (week 2 - by Margaret Ullrich)

It's kind of nice being a senior citizen.  

This week I got a letter from my bank saying I qualified for their over 60 account.  Okay... it wasn't a bouquet of roses and I didn't need any of the things they were offering, but I'd never gotten a birthday greeting from them before.  It was a nice change.

Don't get me wrong.  I do like traditions.  Most of them anyway.

Like I said last week, a couple of my relatives take my birthday as an excuse to reminisce about when they emigrated from Malta to Corona, New York.  I guess they think reminding me is a bonding experience since I'd done the same thing 3 months after they'd done the deed.

Immigrating is not all it's cracked up to be.  

Most people envision folks like they saw in The Godfather.  People at the rail staring in wonder at the Statue of Liberty, their hopes and dreams showing in their beaming faces.

Yeah, right.

My Ma came to America kicking and screaming.  She was almost 28 years old, had been married 2 years and had a 3 month old daughter.  She was quite happy living in her own mortgage-free home on an island where she had her own family, friends and all she wanted.

But... she had been married 2 years and had a 3 month old daughter.  Her husband wanted to live near his 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  Being a single Mom wasn't acceptable in 1950, especially in a strict Roman Catholic country like Malta.

In the Bible, Ruth said, "Whither thou goest, I shall go.  Thy people shall be my people."

Well, Ma wasn't Ruth.  She never forgot all she had lost when she came to America.

And she never let me forget it.

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