Over a hundred years ago, my great grandfather fled from Russia to the United States on a ship. He left behind my great grandmother and their five sons, in search of a better life for all of them. He worked and he worked and he worked, while back at home his wife and children waited. Eight years after he set sail, he had earned enough money to send for them, and months after that, they were reunited on the waters surrounding the Statue of Liberty.
I can easily make up a story, a fairytale, a fantasy of the love my great grandparents shared, or of the romantic and tragic life they lead in their homeland. I can imagine the joy and promise as they began to rebuild their lives, I can see them sitting around the table having a bit of schnapps, toasting to better days inside the small but peaceful confines of their Lower East Side tenement. But they were just like me, and they were just like you. Their dreams were different but just the same as ours, and their love was different but just the same as ours, filled with expectations and hope, doubt and disappointment.
Sometimes I wonder, in their own fantasies, if my great grandparents ever imagined me--a great granddaughter they'd never know, whose life and circumstances, over a hundred years later, might be different from, and also resemble their own.