Sunday, November 25, 2018

#24 ~1976~Hartford, CT

On January 16, 1976 we woke up bright and early. As much as I liked this room and especially the bathtub and a shower, I was anxious and excited. Today we were going home! We did not know where our home was or how we are getting there or what we are going to find there, but we knew that we were going home. At that point we did not have anyone else who spoke Russian. All the families that came with us from Italy were flying to different cities, so we had to speak English and understand everyone around us. I don't remember how we got to the airport, but I remember sitting on the plane and thinking that this plane is not as big as the other one and the food was not as good as the other one and there was no movie!!! When I mentioned it to Felix, he gave me such a hard time and said that I am getting used to good things too fast and that I am getting spoiled. He was right. It humbled me for a while. Flight was short. When we arrived to Hartford and came out of the plane, we saw a group of people looking at us, waving their hands, smiling and coming over towards us with flowers. They were there to meet us, to welcome our family to the United States of America, to welcome us HOME!!! They were from the Jewish Family Service and National Council of Jewish women. I did not know it then, I know it now.
Diane, Sharon, Mr.Kay, Barbara and Marsha. They were so excited, especially when they saw that I was pregnant. They were talking all at once and I had hard time translating what they were saying to Felix and Ida. I could not understand most of it, but I felt that they were happy to meet us.
Such lovely, kind and generous people! They became our friends for the rest of our lives. Then we saw their cars! Long, big station wagons. I have never seen anything like this. All the cars in Europe were compact and small. These cars looked like buses to me. Amazing!!!
We put our luggage in the cars, got in and started driving. First I was impressed that WOMEN were driving and I thought to myself: "I will never be able to do it, but I would love to!" I was looking for tall buildings, big stores, bridges, but all I saw were 2-3 story houses, quiet and mostly empty streets, lots of trees and snow, lots of snow.
I was very confused: "Are we still in America?" Diane was smiling and said: "Yes, You are in America".
Then we stopped at the restaurant, I think it was Pizza Hut. We were sitting at the table and baby Masha immediately fell asleep on my knees. We ate pizza, drank Coca Cola and I was so happy. Everything seemed like in a dream and I was hoping that that dream will never end.
After we finished our lunch, Diane said: "Let's get you home!" In my wildest dreams I could not imagine what happened next.
Our first home in Hartford, CT. Our apartment on the 3rd floor.
We arrived at 53 Arnold Street in Hartford. It was a nice, 3-story light blue building with balconies, small back yard and a garage in the back. Our apartment was on the 3rd floor. When we walked in, I asked "Who lives here?" And all of the women smiled and said: "You do". It was the most beautiful site I've ever seen. Big kitchen, dining room, living room, 2 bedrooms, bathroom. And all of this for us? We don't share it with anyone? Furniture is ours too? I was walking around and touching everything, almost afraid that if I do or say anything, it will all disappear, vanish. I was crying, Ida was crying, I don't remember if Felix was crying, but baby Masha was running around and even her little feet made a happy noise. There was food in the refrigerator, flowers on the table. A little later our landlady, Dorothy walked in with a big smile and a huge basket of fruits. It was not a dream, it was so much better! That's what happiness is. We were free! We were home!!!

1 comment:

  1. The older I get, the more important the word "freedom" becomes...