EXCERPT from  AN EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN by Helene Kobelnyk in VIVAcini! 12 Oct 2012

When my mother died four years ago, it shook
my world. She was always the magnetic north on
my compass in life. Her death left me feeling like a
ship that had lost its safe harbor.
Not long before her death, during one of our little
evening chats, she held my hand and asked me,
“Do you remember when we lived in Philadelphia?”
I replied, “On 5th Street?” Her eyes lit up because
she realized that I had not forgotten. I continued
describing the vivid details of our apartment there,
and many of the adventures we had. Remembering
was important for my mother—events, milestones,
and people, especially those who had helped her in
some way.
You see, we came to this country as refugees from
a war-ravaged Germany—that was my fi rst transatlantic
voyage, certainly not the luxury liners of today,
but an army transport ship, the USS Greely. Like
so many others, my parents wanted a fresh start and
a chance to pursue their dreams in America, a land
where “the streets were paved with gold.”

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