I could not help but react to Randy Riggs’ letter on immigrants adapting to our country.
On the matter of language, the process is gradual and the process can take several generations. The old country language eventually is no longer spoken in the home. In my case, my mother, a third-generation German American, spoke high German around the house. My dad, a first-generation German American, spoke low German with Grandpa Hollmann, but high German with my mother. My older brother learned to speak and read English in the first grade.
I spoke English, but did learn to read enough German in a grade school so I could sing hymns in the Lutheran church. Two of our three children took German class in high school, and one grandson also. I think that language dilution pattern is typical.
On the matter of enclaves Riggs is concerned about, I think he is over-reacting to the normal habit of settling among your own kind. He should take comfort in the fact that the long Swiss German background of his hometown Highland is an example of immigrant assimilation.
The recent presentation at PSOP on the histories of breweries in Belleville, and the upcoming one on taverns, should remind us of the German background of a typical enclave. And, when the eighth American franchise of the Munich Hofbrauhaus opens in November in north Belleville, I would hope that Randy might come over and lift a stein to celebrate assimilation.
Ray Hollmann, Fairview Heights