Magazine March 23, 2020, Issue

Back to the USSR

Sen. Bernie Sanders at the Democratic primary debate in Charleston, S.C., February 25, 2020 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

It is in no way to disparage the child-rearing efforts of my beloved parents to note that the greatest gift they ever got me was obtained two years before I was even born. In the summer of 1968, my parents—both in their 20s, both with secure jobs, both beneficiaries of “free” health care, both graduates of top-flight Communist literacy programs—packed one bag each, left the small apartment they shared with relatives in Budapest, and boarded a train headed for Rome. They wouldn’t return to visit Hungary until 1990, by which time they were fully Americanized. 

The summer my mom and dad

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