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Pack a Bag, You’re Not Coming Home.

My mom shared with me the memory of when they left Prague and was told that they were never going to come home. My mom remembered, coming home from school, and her mom said “Hurry, pack a bag and bring only what you absolutely need. We’re leaving now and not coming back.” Can you imagine the horror of being told this as a little girl; sensing the gravity of the situation, this being a life-altering moment for her and not understanding why?

My mom must have had a rush of feelings; from fear to anger, to sadness to terror. My mom said she grabbed her favorite book, a notebook she and her cousin would draw pictures in, and clothes, that’s all. They rushed out the door to a waiting car.

All my mom remembered was being on a ship with her mom, brother, and her dad, my grandfather being seasick the whole time they were out on open water. To pass the time she read the same book over and over and played marbles with her brother. She would ask her mother; “Where are we going? What will life be like? Where will we live? Will I make new friends? When can I see my grandmother again?” I can imagine her mother, being patient and saying; “We don’t know, we’ll have more answers when we get there, for now, let it go.” After a long journey across the Atlantic, they arrived in New York City. With an uncertain life awaiting.

This photo is on a ferry ride somewhere in France...not their actual trip to the U.S.


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