I would like to honor Meta Nitschke, my grandmother, especially for her courage. She came to the United States from Barrien, Germany through Ellis Island in 1923 at the age of 19. Besides tremendous courage, I think it took incredible heart and spirit to take a boat across the ocean by yourself to a new country with a different language. She liked to stand out on the bow of the ship. I can picture the wind flowing through her hair as the waves pound against the boat.
The journey did not end once she arrived in New York, however. She then took a train to Wisconsin and started her life in America. After two years, she returned to New York where she met my grandfather. Years later after raising a family, they moved to Florida. This was no ordinary move, of course. They decided to move to the very unsettled west coast of Florida among the orange groves. Now in Iowa, the Midwest has regained this explorer. It's great to have her so much closer.
Never lost in the adventure, was a strong sense of family and home. I always look forward to visiting with her. When I was younger, Grandma and I would make chocolate chip cookies together. She'd have to remind me that they don't cook as fast when you watch them. She also has tremendous patience and generosity toward family and friends. These are only matched by her zest for life. You can see this when she is holding her first great-grandchild, Nicole. It is pure joy watching them.