Personal Projects: Point of Entry: Rachel Glaser nee Velelli

“Being young, it was a little scary for me because I didn’t know what was going on. I missed home a lot. And I was angry that we were leaving. I wasn’t happy and I remember that I kept saying to myself, ‘I’m never gonna speak English. I’m never gonna learn this language. I hate it.’ I started going to school, of course. I was put back a year. Instead of going to the 3rd grade, I went to the 2nd and I was angry about that. But the school decided to do that because of the English language. I made it up later on, by skipping a grade...  I remember the beginning of school, when I wasn’t saying a word. I was just quiet and just sat there. And then, all of the sudden, I guess I started talking. But it seemed to me that I would never be able to do that. But of course, I did. And we all did. You know, we got used to the language, but that was the initial feeling. And not having... friends and not knowing... And even little things would make me nervous, like the lunch I was taking. So my lunch in a bag was not the same kind of lunch that everyone else was taking. You know, peanut butter and jelly? I never heard of peanut butter and jelly. So, I would take some cooked food from home that my mother would cook. In the beginning, it wasn’t like... sandwiches... ‘cause we didn’t eat sandwiches in Greece. We ate other things… And I thought people would look at me, like ‘What kind of a lunch are you having?’ So it was the little things that I felt different because I wasn’t able... to be similar, in that way. Even the way I dressed- I dressed differently because that’s what I had. But I think that quickly passed and I began to acclimate and get used to the school. And I started loving school.”Rachel GlaserImmigrated to the Baltimore, Maryland, United States from Patras, Greece in 1956Photo by Sean ScheidtInterview by Ashley Minner, 4/13/17Baltimore, Maryland
Rachel Glaser nee Velelli

“Being young, it was a little scary for me because I didn’t know what was going on. I missed home a lot. And I was angry that we were leaving. I wasn’t happy and I remember that I kept saying to myself, ‘I’m never gonna speak English. I’m never gonna learn this language. I hate it.’ I started going to school, of course. I was put back a year. Instead of going to the 3rd grade, I went to the 2nd and I was angry about that. But the school decided to do that because of the English language. I made it up later on, by skipping a grade... I remember the beginning of school, when I wasn’t saying a word. I was just quiet and just sat there. And then, all of the sudden, I guess I started talking. But it seemed to me that I would never be able to do that. But of course, I did. And we all did. You know, we got used to the language, but that was the initial feeling. And not having... friends and not knowing... And even little things would make me nervous, like the lunch I was taking. So my lunch in a bag was not the same kind of lunch that everyone else was taking. You know, peanut butter and jelly? I never heard of peanut butter and jelly. So, I would take some cooked food from home that my mother would cook. In the beginning, it wasn’t like... sandwiches... ‘cause we didn’t eat sandwiches in Greece. We ate other things… And I thought people would look at me, like ‘What kind of a lunch are you having?’ So it was the little things that I felt different because I wasn’t able... to be similar, in that way. Even the way I dressed- I dressed differently because that’s what I had. But I think that quickly passed and I began to acclimate and get used to the school. And I started loving school.” 

Rachel Glaser 

Immigrated to the Baltimore, Maryland, United States from Patras, Greece in 1956 

Photo by Sean Scheidt 

Interview by Ashley Minner, 4/13/17 

Baltimore, Maryland