I promised a Babci story this week and when I asked for things people wanted to know, one of my readers, Margaret asked “why did Babci get married so late in life?”
Well, there is indeed a story there. There are actually a couple of reasons why she was close to 40 when she got married. If you’re new to the blog, you may not know that Babci grew up in extreme poverty during WW2 in Poland. Her brother got shipped off to a Nazi work camp at age 14 and after 5 years of slave labor, the war ended and he immigrated to America.
When I was a smart Alec teenager, I always thought the reason she didn’t get married for so long was because she was fat and talked too much. I wasn’t even close to being right. You see, since there were no nursing homes in Poland back then, the last person to stay single got designated the “old maid.” They had to take care of their aging parents until they died. Since the old maid didn’t have a husband to take care of her, she usually was the one to inherit the parent’s home. That old maid was my mother.
It wasn’t until I was about 20 when I learned the rest of the story. You see, at some point, my mother realized that no matter how hard she worked, she would not be able to get ahead in Poland. She wanted out and since her brother was already in America, it gave her hope that there was a path to a different life. She also realized that if she settled down and got married, she’d be stuck there forever. At least if she stayed single, she had a chance to get out. So for the next 20 years, anytime a cute guy would come her way, she’d run in the opposite direction. She was actually quite stunning back then.
It was tough to get out of Poland in the 50’s and 60’s, so it took decades of trying before she was finally granted a visa. At 36, she jumped at the chance to come to America.
I look back at this and realize this is one of the reasons why Americans are so great. America is made up of a bunch of gutsy people who take risks to get ahead. My husband’s family is Irish and they came over during the great potato famine 100+ years ago. Although that’s several generations ago, he still came from a group of people that said “Hey, I hear America has potatoes. Let’s go there.” There were even more people that said “Let’s just wait it out, it’s too difficult to move and leave my family behind.” I’m glad that I come from the stock that was optimistic and said “life abroad has got to be better than it is here.”
It saddens me when I see people forgetting where they came from. I see way too many people with a sense of entitlement to all the good things in life. It wasn’t that long ago when the motto was “Hard Work will Get You Ahead.” Now, people are pointing fingers in all directions blaming others for why they are not successful. They also expect the government to not only fix their problems but also take care of them until that time comes. This is pure insanity and will ruin this country if we keep thinking that way.
If you want to get ahead, think about what you’re willing to give up in exchange for the good life. Unless your family is rich, there is usually a cost to getting that life. And even if you’re family is rich, why do you think you’re somehow are entitled to the money you played no part in earning?
Babci made some big sacrifices to get her life here. What have you done to get to where you are today? And if you’re not where you want to be, what are you willing to give up to get there?