I actually saw my father break, he was 63 but slowly beaten down

Posted door
“Let me start this by saying that I’m not for illegal immigration but am saddened and angry about the latest Executive Order which was given on the spur of the moment creating chaos, fear, and friction which could have been avoided.
This comes from someone who came to the US as an immigrant as a child with her family.
We lost our possessions and country when the Dutch East Indies was no more.
We were a displaced, mixed blood people from a Dutch colony but the Dutch didn’t want us either, didn’t know what to do with us.
Then appeared a light at the end of a dark tunnel for my family. It was called America. This great country took not only my family in but thousands of other Indo families…as refugees under the Pastore-Walter Act. I would not be exaggerating if I said that each of those families proved their worth and became proud, contributing citizens of this country.
My father, who was a high placed executive in his native country, started out like so many refugees working at low-wage jobs. He was 53 years old when my family arrived in America…no one would honor his degrees nor his professional portfolio.
I remember how grateful my parents were to the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church for sponsoring us and finding us a place to live and filling it with donated furniture from the parishioners. How fortunate we were that people cared that much!

And me, thinking as a child how lucky my father was for having two jobs not knowing he was working as a janitor at a Boston hospital at the 4-midnight shift and during the day using his beat up (donated) Rambler as a school bus with the type of sign on the roof that could flip down when the car was not used as a school bus. This was a man who was second in command of the hydro-electric projects on the entire island of Java!

I actually saw my father break, i.e., he was 63 but slowly beaten down and ending up bend like an old oak tree.. 

At school, I as the only brown faced child (with only three dresses to my name) in an all white school,. I was also not welcomed with open arms. Thank you Mr. Cornetta and my best friend to this day, Bonnie Graham Lunardi, for making my school year bearable and making me forget the taunts of others.

My sisters who were older than I was and who had gone through nursing school in Holland and were in their late teens when we arrived in America, could not find work except as nurse’s aides. Their nursing degrees were also not honored. We were so poor that my parents couldn’t afford the $15 for their nursing shoes required by the hospital before starting their jobs. My mother went to the only shoe store in Watertown Square and asked the owner if they could buy the shoes on a payment plan…$5 per week. Thank you Mr. Shoe Store Owner because of your kindness my sisters could work and help support the family. My sisters had to take the bus and then the train into Boston to work each day.

My mother would wait for them at the bus stop every payday and they would march directly to the shoe store each Thursday for three weeks to make the payments. It was my father and my mother’s strong faith in God and their deep and never failing gratitude to this country that set an example for my three sisters and I that would stay with us throughout our lives.

So when I think of the refugees, I think of all the millions of families like mine who made this country great. I think of the millions of us children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of the emigrants and refugees who helped make this country great. And then, I also think of the Native Americans…I give them my gratitude for having suffered and lost much of their country and not holding it against us. You deserve all our thanks, all of us who have benefited from your land.

I didn’t mean to make this such a long post but once I started writing. the words just flowed as well as the tears. Thank you America for the opportunities given to my family and allowing us to pay you back as hardworking and loyal citizens.”
My father : Friedrich Wilhelm Kluge Born : 5-1-1907 Djokja, Java.  Died in1980
My mother : Paulona E. Kluge-Dias Born in 1911, Died in 2001