By Danny Burke
The early 1900s in Warsaw, Poland, were tough times. Frank Broda knew that firsthand. As a kid growing up in a small village, there wasn’t much to do or look forward to during these aggravating years.
Broda, who would eventually become my great-grandfather, would help out his parents on the farm, get home-schooled, do daily chores and eat.
But every once in a while, there was a glimpse of a joy in his childhood. It’s a certain joy most children get while looking at this particular object: candy.
Broda was no stranger to the sweet tooth. Any opportunity he could get, he would go into town to try to acquire delicious treats.
He had a favorite wooden stand he would often visit. But since times were tough and spending money was scarce, these treats came rarely.
Then an opportunity arrived for Broda to help the stand’s owner. He had his dream job, and although he was only a child, he loved what he was doing.
Next, a different kind of opportunity emerged — moving to the United States of America. It wasn’t like other chances, but it presented high hopes.
And while aspirations might have been high for his family, Broda was saddened to hear he wouldn’t be able to continue his work at the candy shop.
But Broda moved on. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he began a new chapter in his life.
A decade later, while trying to make a name for himself in America, Broda wanted to return to his old job, but he still needed to pursue a career path that would guarantee a steady income.
So he simultaneously opened a tavern and a fishing business. Frank and his wife, Lillian, ran the operation while raising two kids.
Although those businesses weren’t his ideal career path, they provided a constant form of revenue. Still, his ultimate dream was to open a candy store similar to, but better than, the one he worked at as a child. He wanted to deliver delicious candy and help people experience that same feeling of joy while devouring sweets.
As a child in Poland, Broda said that being able to spend his allowance on those pieces of candy was among his biggest motivators in continuing to work hard. He possessed the same mentality in America when it came to running two businesses and supporting a family.
Broda worked hard and it paid off. After years of operating his two successful small businesses, he saved enough money to live out a dream. It was time for him to open his own candy shop.
Luckily for me, I was able to have my own binges on sweets every time I visited the shop. He also had me do little chores, such as the ones he did while working at the candy stand in Warsaw.
Broda kept the candy shop running until the day he physically couldn’t work any longer.
So because of his sweet love of candy and the opportunities America offers, Frank Broda was able to live out his own version of the American dream.