Anticipating the Senate debate tomorrow on immigration "reform," TalkLeft suggests a blog meme: "We are a nation of immigrants and it would be great if every blogger wrote a post today or tomorrow about how their ancestors, grandparents or parents, whatever the case may be, got here."
Here's a little about one of mine: Robert Keating was my grandmother's father. He came to the U.S. from Ireland, County Wexford to be precise, in 1854. Like many immigrants today, he was ambitious and hard working; unlike many he prospered. For reasons I never learned, he found his way to Buffalo, NY, then a vibrant center of industrial innovation and unconstrained commercial capitalism.
Keating worked the next eleven years for the stove manufacturers, Jewett & Root. He then partnered with the owner's son to branch out into tanneries, selling out to the "leather trust" in 1892. That coup enabled him to go on into banking and he succeeded there as well, becoming a well-respected community leader.
The photos below show the raffish young man in 1854 -- and the successful bourgeois citizen fifty years later.
I don't imagine I would have liked the guy much. But at one time, grit and luck made such transformations possible. Are they still?