Tuesday, October 19, 2021

My First Thanksgiving Holiday as an Immigrant

By Lina Broydo

A young couple and son Mark, 2 (that’s us) arrived to the United States in 1965. My husband who was a brilliant scientist was invited to work after his post doc at Birmingham University in Birmingham, England at the world renowned Bell Labs in Murray Hills, NJ.

An impossible dream came true for Sam, as he loved to be called (a real name Sasha) as a young engineer to work at this iconic and desired by all geniuses in those years research institution.

Settling down in an apartment in a picturesque colonial jewel of a town of Westfield, NJ was a beginning of a new life for this small immigrant family in America. This was in July of 1965. Two years later a daughter Leora was born in Summit, N.J. the first American born citizen in our family.

Bell Labs at that time recruited the very best mega talented engineers/candidates from around the world for its amazing research work at its headquarters in Murray Hill.

Sam befriended Dave Robinson, a Bell Labs colleague, who with his British born wife Peggy opened their lovely home to all the new immigrants who worked at Bell to their first Thanksgiving Dinner. All of us had to bring a special dish typical of the country we immigrated from, thus creating the fist International Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner we cherished and repeated every year for the duration of our life for 14 years in NJ. Sam loved it as I committed to bring a potato dish, his favorite food.

He always used to say that a dinner with no potatoes- is not a dinner, it’s just an appetizer.

We left NJ for the glamour and the high tech world attraction of the Silicon Valley in California, full of warm and unforgettable memories of this special holiday which we were introduced to and came to love and appreciate at Robinson’s warm and welcoming home. Sadly both Peggy and Sam have passed away, but our tradition of this very special holiday lives on with our families’ younger generation. Heaven was waiting for Peggy and Sam to get together for an afternoon tea and some mashed potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope it is a memorable and delicious gathering for all. You may enrich new immigrants dreams come true by inviting them to your next Thanksgiving dinner. A potato dish is a must in honor of Sam.