When my parents first got married, they lived in a two-family flat owned by an older German couple.
The man was named Frank. The woman was named Martha.
They came to America from Germany after World War II.
I can still remember Frank’s scent – a combination of cigarettes and strength.
Martha helped my mom during my first two years of life and beyond.
The couple both had heavy accents.
Martha taught me how to sing Frere Jacques in German.
Frank worked at the brewery making beer.
Each month, the brewers got to take home 2 cases of beer each month.
To cut down on employee theft.
Frank often shared the beer with my dad.
So my life began in a house of immigrants.
This just dawned on me for the first time.
In his youth, Frank had seen Adolf Hitler in a parade.
I now have a client who is from Iraq.
He saw Saddam Hussein once too.
One day, when I was older, my dad told me that Frank had finally saved up enough to buy a Mercedes-Benz.
He paid for it in cash.
With the money he made at the brewery.
Do people really save like that anymore?
I loved Frank and Martha.
My first immigrants.
In a lifetime blessed by immigrants.
I love this country.