Welcome Home. We are ALL One.

Here is a collection of family immigrant stories from across our human experience.

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Gil

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I have much to learn about my heritage. One of the few things I know of my family's immigrant history is that my beautiful Mom was born in the city of Mannheim in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany. She spent most of her life there, I believe, until marrying my Father, and moving to America years later.

Just older than a toddler during World War II, she told me of times her and her Father had to run through the streets to a shelter during bombing raids. As a fortunate boy who lived in a nice house, with nature to play in, toys always around, and a family to love and call my own, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit those words always seemed like a movie in my mind, more than my Mother's reality while growing up. I heard her words, and could imagine it, but never truly conceive it.

My Mother was always one to give her kids support. And teach us acceptance. I don't choose the word "tolerance" for fear that it suggests a "putting up with" quality, and my Mother truly taught us to not only ACCEPT, but also RESPECT ALL people and all religions. And I wonder if the nature of war helped make her into the giving, understanding, and accepting woman she was.

Her birth Mother was an Italian woman named Sophia, who passed of TB in Europe when my Mom was maybe 3 years old. This is literally all I know of my maternal Grandmother. Ultimately, my Grandfather, (or Ompa : ) re-married a great German lady named Wilhelmina, that I knew as my Grandmother or "Oma". I lived in Germany from around the ages of 1 to 4, and hear that I spoke German. (Something I feel guilty for not knowing how to do today, and vow to learn : )

I was also fascinated by Mom's stories of men calling on my Ompa, and my Mother recalling how the conversations often ended in arguments. I had daydreams of Nazi soldiers trying to initiate my Grandfather, and him telling them where they can go with their divisive evil. I don't know the latter to be true, but my Mother's words I remember.

My Mom spent the last decades of her life in America. She worked part-time here and there, and I'm happy to say I remember her being there through all of my childhood. She has undoubtedly made me into the kind and gentle man I am.

Although not directly in the theme of this project, I would love to honor my father and the indigenous native side of my family and also the black part of my heritage. Where again, I know very little, my father did tell me during his last days that he was one-half Cherokee. I knew of a native blood line, but did not know how much. I always thought of my Dad as Black and Cherokee, but even the black roots I am unaware of. Are my ancestors from Africa as well, and from where?

I have much study to do on my heritage, and realized a dream come true in meeting Deepak Chopra in New York City during an introduction of this project HOME.

I would also like to honor my song co-writing partner, Mike Greenly, who wrote the lyrics to my music and melody for COMMON GROUND. A song of unity we hope will be heard by many. Mike who also invited me that fateful day where I got to meet one of my heroes, Mr. Chopra.

We hope you love COMMON GROUND.
Hear it here: https://youtu.be/5ltAouWG_mY