SOCIETY
Children of Georgian migrant to the USA Parten Chikviladze (Peter Chiglo) visit Georgia
11 August, 2018
A 16-year Parten Chikviladze from Racha (the western part of Georgia) left Georgian 1913 for America, never to return back. In the USA his name was changed by the immigration authorities, and so he became Peter Chiglo. He subsequently married an American woman and had 10 children. He always regretted not visiting his homeland again.

His daughter in law Barbara Dodson made him a promise to visit Georgia someday and she kept it. She has been here with her children and
grandchildren three times now. The family is again presently visiting Georgia. Barbara recalls the story of Parten Chikviladze and her visits to Georgia:
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At the age of 16, Parten’s parents died and he headed by ship for America with his cousins. At first, he was working in a gold mine in Alaska. There he became acquainted with some other Georgiansand went to Seattle. In Seattle, young Parten became a popular casino player, making a living out of it. Then in Minnesota, he found her better half and started working in a building company.

At the age of 29, Parten married an 18-year old girl from a farming family. After the marriage, he bought a shop and a bar. He also started growing tobacco becoming a great tobacco producer.
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When Barbara Dodson became his daughter in law, Parten told her everything about Georgia. To her recollection, he could not say a word about Georgia without crying. He missed his homeland and relatives so much. He used to speak English in an accent typical to Georgians. The family member could not understand Parten’s words “opa” (an exclamation) and “martla” (really) which were Georgian words.
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The family remembers him as a man devoted to his family. Before Barbara, Parten had already had 55 grandchildren and then, Barbara and her husband Jerry gave birth to four more children. As is common for Georgians to get the whole family around a table, the Georgian emigrant used to do the same. He died at the age of 76, regretting that he had not returned to visit his country again.
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Barbara promised him that she would visit Georgia. The process of flying from her home in the USA to Georgia was not easy but she was determined to keep her promise. When she first arrived, she and her husband took a taxi. The driver started flirting with her. In response, she pointed at her husband to show him she was not alone and told the driver that he was Chikviladze by surname. When they arrived at the Hotel “Iveria”, they were invited to a restaurant. After they came back from the restaurant, they found a group of people waiting for them. It turned out that the driver had a neighbor called Chikviladze and he helped the Americans find their Georgian relatives.

Barbara wishes to bring all her grandchildren to Georgia and introduce the father in law’s country and culture to them.

Author: Lali Patsia

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