“You Americans have no idea what you have here.” That line was spoken to me in heavily accented English roughly a half century ago. It hit me hard at the time, and it has popped into my head many times since. The speaker was a Czech immigrant, who also happened to be my landlord.
A refugee from communist-controlled Czechoslovakia, he made it to Minnesota as a DP (as in displaced person) sometime after the 1948 Soviet takeover of his country. And sometime between his arrival here and our conversation he had “made it” in America.
He did so by gradually acquiring a small handful of older homes that he’d converted into apartments. In short, by the time we met he was doing quite well here. No doubt this was because this new American had come to understand very well what he had here, not to mention what could be done here.