With all the recent ado over immigrants, I recalled one immigrant’s story. Some years back, one of my coworkers was Olga (which she pronounce Olya) who had emigrated from Russia. I was surprised when she invited me to a party her father was having and looked forward to learning more about their experiences in coming here.
Olga’s father had been a mathematics professor in Russia. He had been in the United States a little over five years. During that time he found employment as a computer analyst and apparently was a successful one. He was buying his home and two small apartment houses. He arrived a widower and was now married to the woman he had hired to help him with his English.
The party was to celebrate his receiving his citizenship. A cake was brought out with little American flags in the place of candles. He then conducted the assemblage in the singing of “God Bless America.” It was quite moving.
I told him the United States needed people like him. He strongly disagreed. He said the United States could get along very well without him, but he could not have survived without the United States, and for that he would forever be grateful. Maybe we were both right.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer