Day 130: Irene, Middle and Upper School Science Teacher and Lab Coordinator

[ By on April 29, 2013 ]

This morning I was sitting in the cafeteria eating Russian rye with butter and mustard. Eating that kind of breakfast, which I do most days, brings back memories of when I was little. We came from a displaced persons camp in Germany and were assigned to be indentured servants for a farm in Sayer, PA, where my father worked in the fields and my mother did the cooking and cleaning. Food was scarce. The head of the household put a lock on the refrigerator–I remember that lock–it was a chain, so you couldn’t get in there. We just lived on butter, bread, and mustard most of the time. After five years at the farm, my father got a job in New York City and an apartment in Jersey City. We started our life in America, but we didn’t have any money. My father had a job, my mother had a job, but their main objective was to make sure we got an education. Money was saved for education; food was scarce. We lived in a cold flat; the only room that was heated was the kitchen with a pot bellied stove. I had to go to the basement with a bucket to get coal to heat the apartment. In the morning our noses would be black from coal dust.

I’m looking out over the Riverdale cafeteria and thinking how fortunate I am to live in this country. I’m thinking about how if you struggle and work hard, you can achieve anything you want in this life. My parents came to this country with a vision, and that vision was to make a better life for us. They came here with nothing; they had ten dollars in their pocket, and they had to work for nothing for five years to pay back the transport. And people complain. What are they complaining about? You know what people need? They need to go to a communist-ridden country to feel the freedoms they have here.

Irene lives in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, where she has lived for forty-five years. When she is not at work, she loves to bake.

Trackback URL

No Comments on “Day 130: Irene, Middle and Upper School Science Teacher and Lab Coordinator”

Hi Stranger, reply with your thoughts:

Allowed XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>