Our block in Brooklyn was a virtual League of Nations, immigrants all

Jun 05, 2018 109

To The Daily Sun,

This is what assimilation looked like when I was growing up. We did not ask who was here legally or illegally. My Italian grandparents came to America in 1904. When they first arrived they were called dirty "wops" and "dagos!" It was a very painful time for them. They did not speak English and their 10 children were bilingual.

My mother's five brothers were in the "trades" or were businessmen, and her four sisters worked in the garment industry. They always stressed to their children — my cousins — that a college education was best, whether it be a two-year degree, a four-year degree, or more. Taking the civil service exam to work in law enforcement or the fire department or driving an ambulance for the city was also honorable.

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