MENU

Letter

9/15/1896

Dear Grandpa,

    In 1893 when I immigrated to America it was a journey I will never forget.

    It was another blazing day in Germany. My sister and I were on our farm
tending the crops. The sun was shining down on our skin, flies were buzzing
around our faces and the crops were dying. For more than two months we had
faced a drought that had landed us in arid weather. A day later was the harvest.
Since our crops were dried out we couldn’t sell them, but we really needed the
money! That’s when dad took me into the barn and handed me eleven American
dollars. I stared at him in amazement. He told me to immigrate to America, get a
job and start a new life. When the time was right dad took me to the nearest port
and let me board a boat that brought me to America. Tears filled my eyes as I
said good-bye to my family and my home country, Germany.
    ​On October 5th 1893 I boarded a boat that would take me to America. I was one of the passengers that were sent to steerage. In steerage it was
extremely crowded! There was about 100 bunk beds and over 200 passengers.
When it came time to eat we had spinach and tea with maggots in them. At night
if you weren’t the first to claim a bunk bed, you’d be sleeping on the ice cold
floor. While I traveled I was exposed to many new diseases, but luckily I only
caught a cold.
     A month later I arrived at this place called Ellis Island. On Ellis Island
people checked if you were ready to live in America. When it was my turn,
doctors examined me for sicknesses. Then a person interviewed me. One of the
questions I was asked was "Do you have over 10 American dollars with you
right now?" I took the money out of my pocket and showed it to the man. He
smiled at me and I smiled back. Later, I found out I passed both exams and that I
could board the next ferry to the mainland.
    I waited 45 minutes for a ferry. When I finally boarded I ran to the back of
the boat, leaned over the railing and told myself "There’s no going back now!"
About 9 minutes after boarding I spotted the Statue of Liberty. Tears flowed
down my cheeks as I ran to the upper deck to get a better view.
    As I took my first steps onto American soil I saw families greeting each
other. I looked around and I knew I was home.
    With my $11.00 I bought a small house on Long Island and I received a
teaching job at a local elementary school. Even though I still love Germany, I
know that nothing compares to America.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2017 West Corporation. All rights reserved.