If you're reading this, you probably came to America as an immigrant or your parents did or your grandparents did. You or your people came with little or very little, and the world they found was always strange and often hard and sometimes threatening.
Immigrants, for the most part, don't like to talk about those days. I know my parents didn't. When I would ask my mother as a child what it was like when we came, she would wave me away. Like so many other immigrants, she wanted that past forgotten. Remembering that past was somehow a betrayal of what she wanted to be, an American. She wanted to be an American sharing the real American dream, the one that promises you never have to remember where you came from and how hard the passage here was.
But we can't forget those stories, shouldn't forget them, because some time we'll need them. They are part of our essential legacy, and they tell us that we can survive no matter how hard times are; they tell us we can keep going even when it seems like we'll never succeed, never crawl out of the mess we're in.
Gregory Tague understands how important these stories are. In Common Boundaries: Stories of Immigration, he has gathered together a collection of twenty true stories by twenty immigrants from Poland and Hungary and Mexico and Iran and Morocco and Cuba. (The two essays about Polish immigrants were written by Dagamara J. Kurcz and me.)
These stories are sad and funny and heartbreaking, and they need to be read and passed down because someday we'll need to remember what courage and hope and strength and love can really accomplish when faced with the impossible.
Common Boundary: Stories of Immigration is available from Amazon and Editions Bibliotekos.
To find out more about Common Boundary, please read the recent article in the Brooklyn Eagle.
Further information is also available at the Editions Bibliotekos website.