Granddad

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This is my grandfather's travel document, which he used when he immigrated through Ellis Island with my grandmother and dad in 1952.

After being released from the Russian war camp, he was reunited with my grandmother in London.

There they lived in a displaced persons camp and he worked for the Royal Air Force.

The story goes that at this point he wanted to die and began smoking a hundred cigarettes a day to make that happen.

Finally my grandmother told him he had to stop because they were going to make a new life together.

From that day on he never smoked another cigarette.

They had my dad and three years later, they arrived in New York.

Great story but is it true?

Did he really never smoke another cigarette?

Stories that are passed down always have that clean anecdotal ending.

Within it all I feel the mess, what that conversation must have meant and the deep grief that had to be swallowed down in order to go on.

I admire it and it scares me and I'm so deeply curious what it was really like...