Thursday, July 4, 2013

Coming to America - Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July!  On this day I think of my Grandmother's journey just to get to this country.  This is the story in her words:

My Dad came here in 1921, from what is now Slovenia, leaving behind our Mom and my sister Mary and me – ages 4 and 2. It took 7 years for him to be able to send for us. So in 1928, my Mom packed everything she could, into 2 large suitcases and we sadly kissed our grandmother goodbye. My uncle took us to board the train for Ljubljana , our largest city, where we met up with about 20 others who were leaving by train for Le Havre, France, the port near Paris, where we were to board the French Liner – Ile De France—sailing to America. . The ocean trip took about 4 ½ days. One day the fog horns were blasting away—we were saluting a ship going East—their fog horns sounded in salute also – the noise was deafening—It was the steamship America bound for Europe. Two huge ships passing in the middle of the ocean!!! I think many of the passengers came on deck to see this. And again  when we sailed into NY harbor very early in the morning of June the 6TH, , everyone was on deck to see the Statue of Liberty. Many people cried, their emotions were  so overwhelming!!
     On Ellis Island, we were given physicals , and our papers were checked. Some people were sent back, for whatever reason. I wonder at how efficient  the whole process was. It didn’t take long, considering the large numbers. We were met by a Slovenian travel agent who escorted us to a train
     He pinned identification tags on us – with our names and destination. On the train , there was a man carrying a huge tray supported by a band around his neck—he was selling cigarettes and candy. We pleaded with our Mom to buy us the candy, but she refused – she didn’t know how much it would take of the money she had. Two men sitting across the aisle form us bought us the candy and we thanked them in Slovenian , as we didn’t know a word of English!! We slept on the train, and the next morning the conductor who had been put  in charge of us, came and put us off the train in Youngstown, where our Dad was waiting. Happy Day!!!

Life has been good  and I am here at 93 to tell how it came about.

This is only part of the story but it is amazing to see what people went through to be able to have the freedoms that we cherish and celebrate today.  

My Grandma and some of her Great-Grandchildren

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