I was born and raised in Dallas. My father immigrated to the US from Serbia when he was 8 years old. My grandparents wanted to move away and give their children a better chance at life. They didn’t believe there was anything for them in Serbia. My mother was born and raised in New York. Her great grandparents had left Poland to come to America, so she didn’t even know anything before America. My parents met in high school after my mother’s parents had decided to leave New York because my grandfather had been offered a much better job in Dallas.
My mother says that she didn’t like my father at first because he was never paying attention in class and instead he was always drawing something. One day she sat next to him and saw that he was drawing “Starry Night.” Van Gogh is my mother’s favorite artist, and he is my father’s favorite artist as well. They got their exam papers back that day and my father had a higher grade than my mother, which took her by surprise. Her opinion of him totally changed, so when he turned around and caught her looking at him, that’s when he asked her to prom. He handed her the drawing and it read, “Be my companion this starry night?” The theme for prom was “A Night Under the Stars,” and his “proposal” was clever, my mother thought.
My father on the other hand tells the story differently. He apparently didn’t care much for his history class, the class he shared with my mother, but he was entranced by the red-haired beauty that was my Mom. But, my father, like me, was very shy and couldn’t just walk up to her. Instead, he watched her. He noticed that her bag had several different artist pins on it and her notebook had Van Gogh’s self-portrait on the cover. He figured she must really like art, so he decided to ask her out by drawing Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” just for her. He didn’t realize that by the time he had built up the courage to hand it to her that it was time for prom. So, when she said, “Yes, I will go to prom with you,” my father’s jaw dropped. He rushed to buy tickets right after class and he began planning their prom night. He picked her up in his car, got her a corsage and took her to prom. They left prom early that night because he wanted to show her his favorite spot. He drove up to Klyde Warren Park and they laid on the grass and stared at the stars.
Two years later, my mom was pregnant with yours truly and they were moving to a home of their own. They had called Hercules Movers and Packers to handle all their belongings because my Dad didn’t want my Mom straining herself or stressing out. He handled everything and didn’t let her lift a single finger while she stayed with my grandparents.