This was a monumental week in my life as a step mom. My step son decided to do his immigration report on his great grandpa.
On my side.
It’s hard to describe the feelings of warmth when your step child claims your family as his own.
It’s something you never expect. But when it happens, it plunges straight into the middle of your heart.
As we researched together, Jordan and I actually uncovered some pretty spectacular facts about my Serbian grandpa (we called him “Djedo”). He was one of those urban legend immigrants whose “rags to riches” story made everyone love this country.
Todor Pero Polich left Serbia under Austria/Hungary rule, and traveled 17 days across the Atlantic to get to America. He landed in Ellis Island in 1906.
He knew no English when he came at the age of 17. He came with no one he knew. He had $1 in his pocket and the clothes on his back.
From Ellis Island he took a train to California, where his fifth cousin gave him a job washing dishes. He quit, and got a job doing construction.
Forty one years later, my Djedo sold his first company for 7.5 million dollars. He started a second company with two Serbian friends called Ukropina, Polich and Kral. (UPK Construction). He worked there until he retired, a wealthy, generous man who always told me “morale and character” were the two most important things in life.
My Djedo was a great man, and left a great legacy.
And last week I realized that part of that legacy was a great grandchild- who came not by birth, but from God- into the Polich family.
And this great grandchild completed his paper with this final paragraph about my Djedo:
“Todor’s allegiance was to America, but he always remembered his homeland. He spoke Serbian to his family and even I know a few Serbian words. Todor married Andja Budincich whose parents were also from Serbia. They established themselves as citizens in America but never forgot their Serbian roots. I am thankful for this family that my great Djedo has given me.”
Okay, so the bold part was added by me.
But that’s how it looked to me while I was reading it.