Matt John, Jonah Pies, Ellis Island discussed on The Moth Radio Hour
I'm Jennifer Hickson. This is the moth radio hour from PR X. This next story is from John Burris. It was nineteen thirteen when his mother arrived as a teenager at Ellis Island. She's with her family and escaping turmoil in Budapest, Hungary, her son John painted, quite a picture for me as told to him by his mom, the ship arriving in the harbor, the statue of liberty looming holding torch people on wildly sea legs walking off the ship. And then getting on their news to kiss the ground. His dad the subject of this story came over a few years later John told this at a story slam in Ann Arbor where we partner with Michigan public radio. Here's John breeze. Father arrived on Ellis Island when both he and the twentieth century. We're still in their teens. But although he lived in Chicago for the next fifty years, he remains shrink wrapped in the customs of the old country humiliatingly Hungarian every day of my life. Like, he put tons of garlic and onions on his food said, it would keep them healthy. Well for him at work his breath was so bad that no one was a contagious disease ever got close factor. And his English always sounded more Hungarian like John Vigo store that Matt John? Let's go to Sears. And by washing machine. We get to Sears. And he says to the salesperson. I give you two hundred dollars for wash mushy. I'm sorry. Sure. But that's a top of the line. Kenmore normally sells for three nineteen serious is reduced to forty nine. That's the price while Meanwhile, I go look at the bicycles because I know how this is going on. Half hour later. We're lowering your Kenmore washing machine into the back of the pickup. My sister-in-law who was eight months pregnant at the time told me that the clincher was when pop pointed at her and said, you give bargain she going to have baby. This was a time when pregnant when we're seldom seen in public. I'm just really thankful. I never got an a car accident in lost a leg because we'd be all shopping for shoes. Power salesperson, you'll give shoes half price half. All the way. I promise you would have. Shopping powers water fine. Traveling with him was like a trip with Borek because. Was it extrovert and his opening line was strange as always what's population. I'll never forget I train stop. And Watertown, Wisconsin. A woman gets on the train. She's wearing purple dress with yellow flowers yellow straw hat yellow purse. She sits down across the aisle from pie, and I start to stare at the window and cringe because I know what's coming next less than three seconds later population water tower, pardon me, sir. I don't understand population population water tower. Now, I can feel the warmth crawling up my neck. Population. How much people offer Todd? Oh population. I'm sorry. I don't know the population of water, and then she begins to intentionally read her or to Evening Post like like an astronaut starting the flight manual on the morning of lift-off. Well, after after momma died moved to Arizona said he'd had Chicago winters and lay one Friday night. I get a phone call from my brother, who's a physician said Jonah pies in the hospital with a kidney infection. I said well is that serious? Do we need to go be with him? And he says, well, no, I talked to the doctors. And actually, they're going to do it. Fine. And they're going to discharge him in a couple of days, but that weekend, I couldn't sleep keep waking up. I'd have this impression goes visit pie. And it won't let go visit. So early Monday morning. Against all logic and medical advice. I'm in a Boeing seven twenty seven headed for Phoenix. Arizona. I rival hospital room and politics smaller than usual wine in the bed, and his voice is weak. And the gruffness has gone. We've is it for a while. And he says John sleep cap sleep cap. What's that then I remember when I was growing up we didn't the upstairs bedroom. So during the winter months power always wear will in cap so that is bald head one show at night. And I'm thinking why isn't Nita we'll tap into warm hospital room. But then I realized it's his security blanket. It's his teddy baron troubling times. I'll get your cap PA not realizing how difficult it will be to find a wall..