Grampa's Left Arm and Other Stories: Tracing My Immigrant Roots from Galicia to Pennsylvania
iUniverse, 27 серп. 2013 р. - 144 стор.
A memoir and a history, Grampas Left Arm tells the story of Jakob Tirjan and Annie Kaufold, immigrants who settled in southeastern Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. Their village on the Austro-Hungarian eastern frontier faded into history when the province of Galicia came under Polish rule after WWI.
The Authors curiosity about the origins of his name led him to explore Eastern Europes troubled twentieth century history and the societal transformations which shaped his political perspective of the United States. Ethnic clashes, the Red Scare, the KKK, fair wages and strikes, even the Business Plot were all heated topics around the dining table. These arguments planted the seeds of curiosity about the origin of his name. No one in his family knew for sure if Grampa Tirjan was really Austrian, as he claimed, or exactly where he had come from. But they all agreed that greedy captains of industry and politicians had their own interests at heart and working men and women had to look out for themselves.
Jim Tirjans post-WW II all-American boyhood echoed many of the major events of the century: wars, the Depression, Communist spies, the isolation of rural life, lives painfully disrupted in modern industrial society and our fascination with and dependence on the automobile. Grampa Tirjan labored at Baldwin Locomotive Works while Grandma Annie ran a boarding house. Jims mother bought a new 1931 Plymouth for $530 with housekeeping wages. Jim picked string beans with prisoners and earned a masters degree. His story is told with humor and compassion and a great appreciation for the forces of history we ignore at our peril. Was Grampa Tirjan really an Austrian? Indeed and then some.
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