My grandfather was a German immigrant who spoke no English when he arrived at Ellis Island in New York’s harbor, so he had to work very hard to achieve anything in his new life in America. Because he had no time to go to school to learn English, the best job he could get was to work as a janitor. In the course of his janitorial duties, my grandfather pulled discarded tin cans out of the kitchen garbage in the tall skyscraper he cleaned every night. The cans had pictures of vegetables and fruit on them, and he found out that by comparing the words on the cans to the pictures, he could start teaching himself how to read and speak English.
As the years passed, my grandfather worked hard to educate himself and eventually received highest honors in his field of engineering. As he raised his son—my…
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