My paternal grandfather fought in both WWI and WWII, and somehow walked away with all his fingers and toes, and a chestful of medals.

My paternal grandmother escaped Russia with her only surviving brother and sister during the revolution, and made her way to France via the German red cross. The rest of her family was slaughtered.

They had one child: My father.

My mother’s parents left Poland a few years before the Nazis pushed through their borders. Their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters stayed behind even after the war started, perhaps hoping for the best, perhaps because they didn’t want to let an invading army scare them from their homes. Those who weren’t killed before being shoved onto death trains died in extermination camps. Aside from my grandparents, there were no survivors from either of my grandparents’ families.

Upon arriving in France, they had only one surviving child: My mother. She spent most of WWII hiding from the Germans. She still stocks ridiculous quantities of butter and sugar in her kitchen – two things that were in short supply during the German occupation – just in case the Germans ever come back.

36 years ago today, my parents became the proud parents of a little boy who now lives in the US and has a branding blog with a chihuahua for a header. He spends much of his day using magical devices like cell phones and laptops and MP3 players. He rides space-age bicycles and competes in crazy sports like triathlon. He can make video phone calls to his relatives half a world away for free, thanks to a company called Skype. He doesn’t have to worry about things like Nazi invasions, bloody revolutions, concentration camps and polio. The biggest danger facing his neighbors and peers these days isn’t famine or disease or war, it’s obesity. The biggest hurdle he has to face every day is rush hour traffic or the occasional bratty client. He hasn’t been in a real fistfight since 1993. He hasn’t been shot at since then either. He has never been forced to plant, harvest, or kill his own food. He has never known famine or pestilence.

It’s a different world we live in today.

Thanks for reading. 😉

Have a great May 9th, everyone.