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June 29, 2020


Don Z. Block

I have the same response as Stephen Lewin and deeply regret that I was not more interested in what my paternal grandparents experienced. They, too, were from Belarus, and they spoke very little English. They lived in Brownsville on Amboy Street, and I hated visiting them. It was difficult to get a cab to drive us there, and more difficult to get one to drive us back, and the neighborhood was dangerous. And I simply had no way to communicate with them. But my grandfather's voice would break whenever he saw me, and he would give me the biggest hug. And I know so little about my grandparents. My grandmother died in the Amboy Street house, and my dad and his brothers removed my grandad from the home he wanted to stay in and placed him in an assisted living home. We visited him once--it was some facility on Bay Parkway, I believe--and he was sullen and barely communicative. He died soon after. He did whatever he could to get out of Belarus and create a better life for his descendants. I never appreciated that until long after he died.

Mary K. Wakeman

"They sacrificed themselves to invest in me." That's a HEAVY burden to carry!!

Stephen M Lewin

I was touched by your piece on your immigrant relatives. I also went through a phase of denigrating my old-world relatives (My grandfather, with unintentional humor, once called his "comrades" his "chronics.") and only now do I appreciate their struggles, their accomplishment, their quirky sense of humor.
How are ya doin'? Everything OK here.
Steve Lewin

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