In 1959, a mother of four was living in post-war Berlin, Germany. Her older children had moved across the planet - two to Canada and one to the United States, taking her first grandchildren with them.
This woman - brave, strong, broke and with a young daughter - found a way to get herself and her child to the United States. That journey itself has never been discussed much, beyond the fact that the nine year old daughter was both fascinated and afraid of the small rickety prop plane that brought her here.
This woman and her daughter came to the United States legally, with sacrifice and scrapped together money. Some treasured family heirlooms were sold, had to be, in order to get the two of them to their new home.
The woman knew some English, the daughter none at all. The woman set up a tailoring shop and found a little apartment for herself and her daughter. The daughter started to learn English from watching television. Once school started the little girl took her brave little non-English speaking self to school and LEARNED. She learned English, and beyond that, developed a keenly Chicago accent.
The woman worked hard, and so did the little girl. The little girl grew up, learned slang and curse words, and learned and learned and learned. She learned her way all the way to a degree from Northwestern University.
The woman grew older, as did the little girl, who had two little girls of her own. She taught them to love learning, to appreciate living this life in this country, even though she remained a German citizen. Eventually, the woman passed away, and the little girl started teaching her daughters about some of their German history.
The little girl now grown woman is only recently considering becoming a US citizen. She can take her time with this, because when she was nine, her mother did all of the things legally and properly. She is a Bears fan, a community leader, and one of the most Chicago-y people.
The mother of four? My Oma. The nine year old immigrant? My Mother. You want to talk about immigration reform, and deals for people who came here illegally? TALK TO HER.