My Trip to America “Next up!” the ship worker yelled for my family. We walked up and gave two very strong looking men our bags. My dad followed them with some more of our things. We were here. The place we now belong. I have been having mixed emotions about coming to America. It is so far away from my country. I have lived in Abruzzo, Italy since I was five. Italy is very important to me. It is where I am from. I was originally born in Sicily, Italy. I knew I was going to miss home. My parents both told me it was for a better life. I still didn’t want to hear it. My two brothers Mario who is 17 and Luca who is 15 are also going to miss Italy. My mother told me I could make new friends and not even have to miss my friends in Italy. She said that it would be fun to decorate our new home in America. My dad told my brothers and I that when we move he is going to get a job doing construction. My parents seem happy about leaving, but I don’t understand why. Don’t they want their children to be happy? I just don’t get it. “Mama, when do they check us?” I asked my mom this becauseI think they are going to say something about the scar on my back. I got the scar a few years ago. My brothers and I were playing football, when Luca passed the ball to Mario. I ran so fast trying to guard the goal before Mario got it in. I was sprinting so fast I tripped and fell and hit my arm on the goal post. “Once we get into the line,” she pointed to the line. It looked like it was a mile long. My brothers were with my dad since we got off the boat. I don’t like not being with them, but my mother told me that women had to be in a separate line then men. “Okay Marcella, we should be here for an hour or so.” “Next up! You little girl” the man called for me. The more I walked closer the more I got worried. He took me into a small room. “Okay, take off your shirt please.” I looked at him very confused. I gave him a face that meant what are you saying? “Take your shirt off…” he was making gestures showing me how to take off my shirt. “Umm okay.” I took off my shirt and I turned around. “Okay everything looks fine…Oh wait, there is something on the back of your shoulder.” I started getting very nervous. “We are going to take a quick x-ray of your shoulder. Come with me.” I nodded my head, not understanding what he was telling me. He called my mother in. “She has a spot on the back of her shoulder. We are going to take a fast x-ray to see if anything is wrong. We are going to have you stay here for a few more days. I will take you to the room you’ll be staying in.” My mom looked at the man with understanding eyes. ”Okay sir. I will need to contact my husband.” She looked at me and gave a caring smile. I knew that she saw I was worried. My mother took me to go meet my father so we can tell him. I had so many emotions running through my head at that moment. From everyone around me talking in so many
different languages,to mother holding my hand and walking me to my father. “Hello boys. Honey, they found something on her shoulder, we are staying here for a couple more days for an x-ray.” My dad was also very calm. ”Okay, we will keep in touch with you. We will come to the ferry station every morning around ten or ten thirty. Meet us there.” It felt normal for my dad to be speaking our language. After hearing all these different languages,it was very soothing. We said our goodbyes and walked away. I don’t want to be here. If we stayed in Italy this would have never happened. For some reason I felt guilty for this entire thing happening. “Mama, this all my fault. I was the only one in our family who has a fault.” I was getting teary eyed. “No, things like this happen. You didn’t do anything.” My mother was very caring about things like this. I was already scared about coming here, but now I have to worry about staying here. We had to wait in the long line full of the same people who just want to get out of here and start their new life. People from all over the world were in this huge building. People wearing all different clothes. Speaking all different languages. It was really amazing yet very scary. “Next up!” the same man called for us. “Hello sir, we were here not that long ago. My daughter has been put in quarantine for an x-ray .” My mom told the man very politely. “Yes ma’am, come right here with me.” He took us into a room with a bunch of beds in it. He showed us to a spot in the room with two beds next to each other. “Okay this will be your beds for the next six or seven days. Around six thirty, a woman will come in here to take to the food hall. That is where you will have dinner.” I had no idea what he was telling us. “Grazie sir.” My mother obviously knew. We were in the room for about four hours before the woman came to take us to the food hall. “Follow me everyone.” She had a nice sounding voice. She sounded like she loved her job. “She looked at me and said “Hello” with a beaming smile. She walked us into a big room with a long table. It was made of wood and had at least fifty families eating on it. They must have been in quarantine too. Maybe this wasn’t as bad. I’m sure some families in here had to leave their father or husband or even siblings. My mother and I sat down next to each other. For dinner we had bread and soup. The bread didn’t taste the same like the bread in Italy, but for now this was great. I missed my father and brothers. After dinner my mother and I went back to quarantine. We went to bed after that. The next morning I woke up in a better mood. The very peppy woman took me and my mother to a cold open room. I was instructed to lay down so they could give me an x-ray. The man was very quiet, sometimes he nodded to himself. “Well, she looks fine to me.” he told my mother. “Okay, thank you sir.”
Today was our last day of quarantine. My mother and I had a good couple of days. I can’t wait until I get to be with my family all together. “Okay ladies, this is your last day here. “ He was looking at some paper one of the nurses gave to him. “Yes sir. We have to get back to our family. I’m sure they miss us terribly.” My mother was always so polite while talking to the men. “Yes. I’m sure they do.” After that little conversation, a man carrying our bags walked us outside. “Grazie sir.” My mother told the man. We walked outside and into a cab. This new city was huge. I loved it though. It had big buildings and markets like I had never seen before. I really think I am going to grow on this whole moving across the world thing.
Author’s Note My story was inspired be Immigration. This was a period of time when millions of people from around the world came to America. They all wanted to start a new life. Most of those people came by a boat and long rides. Sometrips could take weeks or even months. The journey might have been long, but the days spent on Ellis Island were much worse.
Elise Island was the place where immigrants would have background checks and be examined to see if they were sick. People would come to America speaking little or no English. Immigrant families would move into small dirty apartments that could fit a small number of people. While being examined, people weren’t always found clean and free of disease.If the inspectors found something they thought wasn’t normal, they would put you in quarantine.
Quarantine meant you had to stay on Elise Island for a little while more. You would be put in a room with beds and you would be treated by nurses. After going through the tough Elise Island, families would move anywhere around the country. Studies show, during the decade of the 1920s,more than 4.1 million immigrants arrived in America. New York City was a very popular place to live for immigrants. The city became known as the “Melting pot.”
Some streets would be known for having a lot of Italians on it, or a lot of German people living there. Immigration brought many foods and recipes to America. It created a new community in America. Future children would become Italian Americans or any other nationality they were.
The total amount of people who came from Europe is 32,468,776.The total from Asia is 1,074,926.The total from all the countries in the world is 38,290,443.Making Europe the most popular. Immigration changed America greatly and made Elise Island a famous land mark. Immigration changed the way we live today.
Bibliography Hoobler, Thomas, and Dorothy Hoobler. The Italian American Family Album . New York, New York: Oxford University Press,1994. Print. This book tells you about Italy, people coming to America, working, and a part of America that is very much like Italy itself. This helped me becauseI got an idea of why people from Italy came to America and what life was like. Sandler, Martin W. Immigrants . New York, New York: Harper Collins Publishers , 1995. Print. This book is about Immigration. It talks about how people gave up everything to come to America and start a new life. this book gave me a lot of information about Immigration and what life was like then. Todd, Anne M. Italian Immigrants 1880-1920. Mankato, Minnesota: Blue Earth Books , 2002. Print. This book is about the Italian immigrants who came to America and what life was like. This helped me get a good idea of what life was like back then.