Arriving in the US

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So my dad and family arrived in the United States in the early 1950's.

It was actually their third choice, after Spain and Argentina didn't work out.

They settled in Greenpoint, NYC and my grandfather worked three jobs and they lived with rats in their apartment and little by little they established themselves.

Or the story goes.

Since my dad had estranged himself from my grandparents for most of my life, I always figured his childhood was dark and turbulent.

I'm sure parts of it were (don't we all have those parts?), but I was surprised to see how many photographs showed them all looking so genuinely happy.

They took trips and played at the beach and had lots of friends.

They showed me that there must have been a joy, the wonder of a new life ahead, that lived alongside the sadness.

It made me happy to see it in their smiles and then almost more confused, because I knew less than I thought I did.