Cross ref:

July 4, 2008 – 8:27 am Following my post for July 4 entitled: From Right to Left, I have received this romantic story from James Kaminecki of Chicago who has become a good friend from my world of trading companions!

The article is self-explanatory, and without further ado, please read on:


When Ana kindly asked me to write a piece about being an American during our Independence Day holiday, I had to take a step back. I began thinking to myself, “What could I say that people would take the time to read as I am just your average every day American guy?” But knowing that Ana’s and Ray’s blogs touch an international community, in asking this question, I think, I may have touched on the manner I should discuss this topic.

My thoughts turned to the idea that maybe people are less interested in hearing from corporate executives, Hollywood ‘stars’, politicians and typical media commentators.

What are a typical American’s thoughts on this coming Independence Day?

I cannot speak for all, but the following three words really come to mind when I personally reflect on this holiday: family, freedom and opportunity.

These words are almost synonymous with the coming holiday here in the United States. However, maybe I can shed some personal light on this topic and will start with a story.

Like most Americans, my family came here from ‘somewhere else’. The one detailed story that has been passed down through the years comes from my father’s side of the family. His grandmother, my great grandmother Catherine, emigrated to Chicago in 1907 from a small town outside of Krakow, Poland. Unknown to her at the time of her departure was that Frank, a young man in her town was in love with her. However, he had been too shy to speak to her. After she had left, he listened to family and friends who told him that he should not expect her to return to Poland. If he wanted to meet her, he would have to follow her. He chose to change his entire life, leave all that he knew behind him, take a chance and follow his heart. Thousands of miles away, a different culture, a new language and many unknowns awaited him. He arrived in Chicago a short time after she did. They were introduced to each other through mutual friends who also made the same journey. Frank and Catherine were married within a year and eventually had five children together; three daughters and two sons. Wanda was the middle child and is my grandmother.

Frank never was able to listen to any of the twenty albums his eldest daughter would go on to record or have the opportunity to see his five children grow up. Fifteen years after he was married, he passed at the young age of 34 after being severely burned in an accident at the factory he worked during the Depression. Wanda was thirteen years old. The family pulled together and the younger kids used older relative’s IDs to get employment wherever they could. The entire family worked to support each other. They got through the difficult times and the kids all went on to having families of their own.

After getting married to John when he left the Air Force at the end of World War II, she raised three children. Eventually, with the kids grown up, my grandmother Wanda went back to the workplace during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This time it was for a very large Chicago-based retail company called Sears, Roebuck and Co. The company built a new headquarters in downtown Chicago that was completed in 1973. At completion they let employees write their names on the final I-beam to be put in place at the top of the building.

I believe you will find many similar stories about how families were started here in this country. You can change the names, the city and the circumstances…but the storyline follows a similar path, and they will be reflecting on this during our Independence Day Holiday. Families around the globe have their own stories to tell and reflect upon it as well. It does not take a holiday to remind us of these things, but here we are in 2008 and we are upon the 232nd anniversary of this young country’s independence.

Family. Freedom. Opportunity.

Family – The foundation from which all communities and nations are built

Freedom – To have choices, make informed decisions and to be able to take action once a goal has been set

Opportunity – To follow your heart, to take a chance and to follow your dreams

You might ask the question: “How does this all relate to a trading blog?” For me, trading is almost a microcosm of independence and life: you are presented with numerous opportunities every day and are always looking to improve your skills. You have the freedom to make informed choices in the marketplace and to take actions, such as, enter, exit or wait for additional information. You have a ‘family’ there to support you along the way such as Ana Wang , Brett Steenbarger, Jim Pendelbury (J.P.) or Ray Barros.

This post is a dedication to all those individuals, not just in America, but around the world that have worked and sacrificed to provide the freedom and opportunity to create a better life for themselves, their family and friends and future generations.

We all have hopes and dreams that are waiting to be accomplished. To everyone reading, I would like to say: Take a chance, follow your heart, then make an informed decision and dedicate yourself to following through. Keep your eyes set firmly on the goals you wish to accomplish instead of any difficulty you might be experiencing along the way. Know that there is light at the end of the tunnel and if you persevere, you will reach that goal you are seeking or will come out stronger than before.

Do not be afraid of failure. Mistakes are guaranteed to be made.

But, aren’t the most important lessons in life learned after you have stumbled? You just need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again with the new information…you never know what you will accomplish or just how high you might reach.

Wanda Kaminecki passed away this past March after a very long and fulfilling life. She may no longer be with us, but her family and friends are better off today because of her and all that she had done during her time here. The Sears Tower in Chicago ascends 110 stories, higher than any building on the continent. Her name and the other family members’ names that she engraved on that I-beam are still on the top of that building that ‘scrapes the sky’. -JK





Ag Moderator

8 thoughts on “MY STORY AS AN AMERICAN – JamesK”

  1. Jim,What a tear-jerker your story has touched me!

    I am sure many Americans will empathize with your story when they reflect on their own roots.

    Thank you for sharing a story that has followed us to the world of trading,to our mutual visions.


    By idkit on Jul 4, 2008 |

  2. short and nice,simple american dream, in just 3 words family freedom and opportunity, my salute to u , happy independence day

  3. Jim

    Can you let us know whether your family’s 20 music albums are available for some listening?

    Baz being a composer and musician is keen to listen to some; so do we.

    ANA aka IDKIT
    Ag Moderator

  4. Hello Baz and Ana, thank you for your comments and for your interest in my great aunt’s music. Her name is Marisha Data and the following website will link to one of the albums that continues to be published:;

    There are a few other links you can find if you search Google for her name.

    Be well and enjoy the weekend!

  5. CROSS ref from RIGHT TO LEFT

    To Dr Brett:
    Thank you for your insightful comments to which I added mine to try to follow your reasoning ie on dual aspects of looking at Independence.

    To Jim Rogers :(featured in Market Wizards by Jack Schwager & July 08 Peak)
    Thank you for kindly giving me the liberty to quote you whenever wherever, as long as sources are given due credits.

    To James Kaminecki of DT, Chicago:
    Thank you for sharing with us your roots. I note you have a famous artiste in your family tree:your great aunt’s music.

    Her name is Marisha Data and the following website will link to one of the albums that continues to be published:;

    There are a few other links you can find if you search Google for her name.

    To Martha Nicolaides of Minneapolis, USA:
    Thank you for staying in touch all these years after a long sojourn in Singapore.

    Take care and hugs to Ari, too.

    To All others who commented:
    We can look on my July 4 posts as melding together all the microcosms making up the Little World of human nature.

    MAN is the epitome of the Great World or Universe, a Philosopher’s Stone.

    To all of you, especially Americans, a big thank you for taking time off to share your deepest thoughts with us here.

    HAVE a good happy weekend, All.

    ANA aka IDKIT
    Ag Moderator

  6. Amazing story Jim! really touching.

    I would like to wish you and your family a long life on the passing of Wanda, she seemed like a committed and determined woman who stood for everything important in life.

    Sometimes I think about how simple life was then in contrast to the many problems today we are faced with as a result of the many different choices we have.

    I guess in those days though it seemed far from simple and in the end its all relative. However if everyone had the attributes of Wanda no matter the era our world would be a better place.


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