November Challenge: I'm Grateful to be Born in the USA

Real Estate Agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes

This is not going to be a post that leans into politics, current immigration policy, or an commentary on what's happening at the USA/Mexico border.  Immigration  continues to be a very controversial subject.  However today I wanted to share my story of how I became to be so grateful to be born in the USA.


Yes, this story starts with my grandparents, who were immigrants.  My Italian grandfather came to the USA via Ellis Island when he was 11 through the sponsorship program--he already had relatives living here.  Can you imagine the long journey from Sicily to the USA as a pre teen, on a ship?  He passed away when I was much younger so I don't have a lot of details.  However I do know that he started his own business, a barbershop, in St Louis MO.  He married another Italian immigrant woman, and had three children.  My father is the oldest of the three.  Dad also cut hair for a living, until he decided to get into the restaurant business with my uncle.  


My strongest memory of Grandpa is having the family over for Sunday dinner at his little house in south St Louis.  He sat at the head of the table, smoking Lucky Strike cigarettes in his white tank top.  At the beginning of every meal, we would pray and then he would bang his fist on the table and say "God Bless America, the greatest country in the world!".  And we would eat.  That was it--a public declaration of thanks every Sunday to God and the family.   I know my Grandpa was very poor growning up in Sicily.  There was a lot of mob violence and not enough to eat.  I do remember him telling me that quite often, dinner was watermelon and bread.  Once he got to the USA, he worked very hard to create a modest middle class life for himself and his family.  He went to church,  shared what he had, was kind to all  and instilled in me an eternal gratitude for the priviledge/luck of being born here.  He so appreciated the work opportunities, the abumdance of food, and the freedom.



Unfortunately I don't have any photos of Grandpa--they were ruined in a basement flood.  However I do have some 8mm film of him and those Sunday dinner gatherings.  We have so much here compared to most of the rest of the can be easy to take it all for granted. Growing up with that appreciation is something I treasure and try to instill in my own children.


Happy Thanksgiving all!

Posted by

Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR

(Brookside/Armour Hills resident, local business supporter, NPR fan, Habitat ReStore volunteer, thankful for the gift of another day!)


Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate/Kansas City Homes

816 510 1262



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Gwen Fowler-CRS- 864-638-3599 SC Mountains & Lakes--
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc - Salem, SC
Gwen Fowler Real Estate, Inc.

Such a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. 

Nov 26, 2019 07:30 AM #1
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

What a great family story you have to share with us.   I am glad he made it to the US and love our country.   How things have change.

Nov 26, 2019 08:10 AM #2
Dan Hopper
Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC - Denver, CO
Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale

Very nice story ... we are happy to hear how Families ventured into this concept of Freedom and Liberty (Republic) to be a part of it's growing pains to be a part of the greatest experiment on Earth!!

Nov 26, 2019 09:23 AM #3
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Enjoyed reading your post and your Italian origins.  I was not born in the US, and I am one its proudest citizens, so happy to be living here.  A

Nov 26, 2019 11:07 AM #4
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Mary - thank you for sharing some of your history.  My grandfather was a barber and had his own shop as well.  I do recall him smoking too but cigars.  Never in the house(neither his or ours) always outside.  Thanks also for bringing back those memories for me.  

Nov 26, 2019 05:18 PM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Mary- I too am grateful that I was born here as were my parents. I'm even more thankful that both my grandparents came over when they were younger so that we could be born here. 

Nov 26, 2019 09:16 PM #6
Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

I love the traditions your grandpa started.  What a wonderful gift to your family!

Nov 28, 2019 11:44 AM #7
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

And Grandpa would be so proud of you. Lovely entry for the gratitude contest.

Nov 29, 2019 06:44 PM #8
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Mary - that is a something to be proud of.  My great grandparents came from Germany in 1880.  I did not know them but knew the traditions through my grandmother.  However, my father in law emigrated from Italy  as a teenager and grew up in New York.  He was in the American Army in Europe in WWII.  One thing I learned from my wife's family is that they loved Sunday Dinner together.

Dec 03, 2019 04:19 AM #9
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Hi Mary, that was an endearing story and fills us with pride!  Thanks for sharing something so many take for granted.  BTW: have visited Sicily and it is totally cool.  From an architect's point of view - stupendous.  We drove up Aetna and did the ring road around the island.  I have to go back.  Italy is the number one spot for me.  The birth of the Renaissance, which informed nearly every building constructed from 1400 to 1900 and beyond.

Dec 29, 2019 04:09 AM #10
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Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR

Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area
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