. . .
“I’m going to put this beautiful doll on my desk,” Miss Stickly announced, “where everyone can see it all the time. It will remind us all that Pilgrims are still coming to America.”
I decided it takes all kinds of Pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.
from Molly’s Pilgrim
by Barbara Cohen
illustrated by Michael J. Deraney
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1983
My grandparents were Pilgrims, too. All four of them. They came to America for religious freedom and for opportunity. They were astonishingly brave. They each, in their own time, left their families, everything they knew, put behind everything they feared and sailed into a future full of strangers, strange languages, strange food, strange money. They each learned English. They learned how to buy groceries, set up a bank account, build a business. They became citizens. They adopted America and America adopted them.
I am grateful for their stalwart acts, their courageous ventures, their self-sufficiency. This Thanksgiving, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.
My grandparents exhibited:
- Ability to comply with rules that are fair
- Capacity to stand strong and speak out against rules that are not fair
- Compassion for those less fortunate
I like to think those character traits might be flowing through my own veins, too.
My grandparents did not give up everything only for their own selves, for a better life for themselves. They did it for their (future) children, and for me and for my kids and my own grandchildren and even their grandchildren.
Today my grandparents would not be called Pilgrims, even though they were. They’d be called immigrants, which they also were.
This Thanksgiving I will define immigrants as people whose courage, self-determinism, and faith in a bright future, allowed them to pull up the roots of everything familiar and re-plant themselves into the unknown.