Sunday, March 3, 2013

Visting the Statue of Liberty and Remembering my Grandpa

The one thing the girls really wanted to do for their birthday was see The Statue of Liberty.  Unfortunately we missed the last boat by 2 minutes so it wasn't till Saturday that we were able to take the ferry.  My feelings were indifferent for visiting the statue and it was only because our little crazy's wanted to see it so badly that we made the effort...and I'm so glad we did.

I began this blog with the purpose of documenting my process of passing down a legacy to my children.  Just as my mother taught me to play the piano and use artistic expression I will continue to poor into my children those skills along with the gifts I was blessed with.  One very special person who I see reflected in my family, and hopefully someone people can see reflected in me was the man I had the privilege of calling Grandpa.

My Grandpa was an immigrant from Holland.  He was born in 1929 and grew up during WW2.  His life was a story you would want to read about in books.  His mother died when he was 10, he left home at the age of 14 with only a 5th grade education and got a job working on a farm.  When he was 17 he set sail for America.

I remember him telling us about his journey to America and him seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.  As I stood there looking up at the statue I couldn't help but remember all those stories he shared with me and feel a new connection with him and responsibility to pass those stories to my children, because his growing up and being an immigrant is a part of my story too and therefore a part of my children's story.  So as we sat on the boat I told the girls about their Great Grandfather and him seeing that statue for the first time.

It's been a week since we visited Lady Liberty and I feel like a treasure trove of stories has just been discovered.  I'm having fun telling my girls all about their Great Grandpa and hopefully in the process Coppelia Kai Ray is discovering just how special her middle names are.  I hope someday the girls can say, with the same amount of pride as my Grandpa taught me, "If you ain't dutch you ain't much!"

A few days ago I found this video from his memorial.  In the middle of it you can hear him talk about his coming to America.   Just the sound of his voice with that heavy dutch accent makes me smile.  I was a lucky little kid to grow up with such a wonderful man and a blessed child to be a part of his legacy.

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