Dedicated to my family and friends, and the memory of my great-great-great-grandfather, Michael McMorrow.
Beneath the bright hot sun, the brown, gorgeous potatoes grew and got bigger and riper. The small red house that I lived in was barely big enough for my mom, dad, brother, and me. My name is Michael McMorrow. I was born in County Cork, Ireland. I worked hard on my farm taking care of sheep, cows, horses, pigs chickens, and ducks. I grew carrots, cabbage, onions and potatoes before the Great Potato Famine of 1810.
I was a very successful farmer until the potato famine. It struck every single potato in the crop. It devastated my farm, my family, and friends. There was not enough food or jobs and people were dying of hunger and sickness. I had no choice but to leave Ireland, a place I loved. I didnâ€™t want to leave behind my family, friends and especially my parents, but it was a safer and better option for me to go to America.
I was 20 years old when I sailed to America by myself. It was not my first time on a boat, but I had never been on a boat quite as big as the one that would sail across the Atlantic. My family saved whatever money they could to buy me this one ticket to America. I was excited and nervous. I was wondering and wondering what it would be like there. I gave long hugs to my parents and my brother. It was a sad day. I carried some food and a small suitcase aboard the ship and blew kisses to my family as the ship sailed out into the rough seas. I was poor, so I had to sleep at the bottom of the boat where there were no windows. It smelled like dirty clothes and bad breath. I was sick to my stomach from the smells, and dizzy from the rocking of the boat. This trip felt like forever. I was bored, ill, and sad. The only thing that made me feel better was imagining what it would be like to see Boston, Massachusetts, America for the first time.
“There it is!’’ I said out loud. I could see the Welcome to Boston sign! I was so happy to see Boston after several weeks on the boat. Boston was so pretty. I looked up and saw the beautiful bright yellow windows. I liked how some lights were on and some off in the buildings. I was very grateful this trip was over and we were leaving the wavy sea and coming to solid land. When I got off the boat, I kissed the ground, thanking my parents for giving me this opportunity to come to a better place and to begin my great, new life.
At first, it was challenging to find the right job for me. But finally, I saw a sign that said a factory was looking for workers. I was interested, so I met the boss and he said I could work there. It was hard work, but I was happy that I had more money than I had in Ireland. Then one hot day, my boss said to me that I had to show a new employee around the factory. Her name was Mary. She was pretty. A year and a half later, we got married. Under a bright afternoon sky, Mary and I walked down the aisle. Mary held a pink rose. I wore the fanciest shirt I owned. We invited lots of relatives and friends and had a great celebration. Two years later, Mary and I had a son. His name was Edward James McMorrow. I remember when Edward was little and I told him all about my journey.
About the Author
Audrey Ferguson is in 4th grade at Hosmer School. Audrey has one sister and one brother. Her favorite hobbies are dancing, singing, playing flute, and art. She enjoyed making her second book because she got to write and do fun collages. Audrey lives with her mother in Watertown, MA and also goes to the Cape to spend time with her father, siblings, and her dog, Bree.