My name is Karen Smith Monroe and I emigrated to the United States in July 1968. I was 6 yrs old. My Father was a pastor and was called to a church in Brooklyn NY and my Mother was a stay at home Mom.
I vaguely remember being on deck of the SS France (yes, we came over on a cruise ship) and passing the Statue of Liberty.
What I do remember...and it is a STRONG memory is that it was SO HOT. We came from a country where we didn't have air conditioning and we didn't need it and we moved to NYC where we didn't have air conditioning and we certainly needed it!
I started PS 185 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in September and, although no one would think I would have any issues, I had no clue about the currency. I remember my sweet teacher trying to explain what a quarter was and how many made a dollar. It started a long life of being math challenged :)
I had many immigrants in my class from Vietnam, Korea, China, Scotland and Germany.
I have been here a long time and I take much for granted but I am reminded today that, besides my sister who was born in the US, I am the ONLY one in the entire family who applied and became an American citizen. I became a citizen in 1999. I am reminded that my children have a Mother who is a first generation American. I am amazed that my parents left everything they knew at 29 and 30 years old with 3 small children to start over. I love the legacy and I am grateful for projects like this that remind us of what we have been given.