My Grandparent's American Journey

The following is about a couple from Michigan who have experienced many hardships in their lives, and they have "been around the block a few times " as some may say. This accounts for their history and memories of past generations and present experiences.

By Lexi M. from Niagara High School in Wisconsin

William Maycunich was born on June 8, 1936 in Escanaba, Michigan. He was the last born of thirteen children: three brothers and seven sisters, one stillborn sister, and one sister deceased from sickness at the age of two. His parents Frank and Theresa Maycunich immigrated to Michigan from Croatia as teenagers and got married in Escanaba. The family was always poor and had a difficult time supporting so many children. Bill went to school at St. Joseph's in Escanaba, actively participating in football, basketball, and baseball. He attended college at St. Norbert's college on a football scholarship. Growing up Bill's brother, John, was in the second world war in the army. His brother, Steve, was a medical corpsman in the navy during World War II. He also endured the Battle of the Bulge. Bill did not really understand what war was when his brothers went into the military because he was young, but he knew they were overseas fighting to protect the country. It was very hard for his parents to have children in the military because one of the main reasons they immigrated from Croatia was to escape war and violence in their home country. When Bill attended St. Norbert's, he was in the ROTC program and planned to go into the army, but he could not do that because he tore his knee apart during football and was declared 4F, so he could not be drafted. Instead, he became a conservation officer to help protect the country's land, fish, and game from unscrupulous people who tried to steal from Mother Nature. Growing up during America's hard times, Bill has seen a lot of the country's highs and lows. He says that America has stood for freedom for people to live decent lives within the laws of society, until President Trump went into power. The government used to be for the people, and now the powerful people are obsessed with greed. He has tried all his life to live by the law and do what was right. 

Therese Maycunich was born November 27, 1939 in Munising, Michigan. She was the second of seven children: four brothers and two sisters. Her parents were Frank and Veronica Negilski. Her parent's parents immigrated from Poland and Yugoslavia. Her dad's parents were the first settlers in Traunik, Michigan. Therese's family was also very poor. She went to a Catholic school and then transferred to a public school her seventh grade year. Growing up the only way to get updates on news was by listening to the radio. She remembers when the first astronauts were sent up to space and when the first teacher, Sally Ride, got sent into space and her spaceship exploded. Therese says that America stands for freedom of choice and freedom of speech. She says the leadership in the US needs rearranging and it is full of corruption. She tries to pursue freedom by helping others and doing her best to raise her family to the best of her ability with her husband, even when they were living paycheck to paycheck. William and Therese got married in October of 1959 and had five children of their own.  They have both pursued freedom by voting and being active in the government. They feel lucky to have overcome the hardships of their younger days and become successful adults in the US.

Niagara High School

Mr. Laarman's U.S. History Class

11th graders from Niagara, WI

More letters about "history"

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