First Impressions

It’s just a little bit after 8:00 pm here in Bordeaux, and I’m hoping to manage to keep my eyes open until 9:00. A pretty lofty goal for day one of our trip.

After arriving at our hotel late this afternoon, we headed out to soak up some first impressions and get the lay of the land. We found the Rue St. Catherine, the one of the longest pedestian shopping streets in Europe, but saved seeing it for another day. We passed the Grand Theater, a gorgeous structure that  inspired Garnier when he designed Paris’s Opera House.We happened upon the beautiful monument whose name I’m too exhausted to look up, with magnificent claw-footed horses and other allegorical figures. We scoped out potential dinner spots for another night. Bordeaux is pretty, lively, and not overly touristy, it seems.

Enough for day one. Our hotel has a peaceful, leafy courtyard wine bar where we tried the blind tastings,  taking our chances on what the server would bring us. We’re in Bordeaux after all, so how bad could it be? Of course, each glass was delicious, as was the charcuterie and cheese platter.

My eyelids are drooping and Mike is already sound asleep, so bonne nuit, mes amis. Tomorrow, our first full day, holds much promise, best enjoyed after a decent night’s sleep.

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Getting to Know Vous

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”  -Author Unknown

 

What a happy sight… suitcases standing at attention, waiting to be opened up and loaded up with two weeks’ worth of necessities. For several months, we’ve been anticipating our trip to France, and today is the day. Our suitcases are filled– leaving some room for wine purchases–, I’ve returned all the Pimsleur French cd’s and the Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and Rick Steve to the library, and now it’s waiting-around time.

Mike doesn’t claim to have a bucket list, but if he did, Bordeaux would be right at the top. For a oenophile, its the Promised Land of historic vineyards, chateaus. and grande crus classes like Margaux, Latour, and Lafite-Rothschild. He’s already salivating about the two days we’ll spend with a private guide, who’s arranged tours and tastings along La Route de Medoc and near St. Emilion. Wine isn’t the only reason to go to Bordeaux, described as beautiful as Paris without the crowds. Elegant architecture, cobblestone streets, a quay perfect for strolling, and French pastries are just waiting across the ocean to dazzle us.

After six nights in Bordeaux, we’re opting for a change of pace. We’ll be renting une voiture — one with an English-speaking GPS– and traveling a few hours east and centuries back in time to the Dordogne region.  We chose the medieval village of Sarlat-de-Caneda as our base camp. With a population of about 10,000 people, it’s one of the biggest towns in the region. Here, the Dordogne River winds its way past charming villages — one boasting the title “cutest town in France” — and medieval castles hovering at cliffs’ edges. This neck of the woods is also home to numerous grottes, caves that once housed prehistoric people who decorated their homes with still-intact paintings.

After the Dordogne, Arcachon, a seaside resort town outside of Bordeaux, will be our last stop. A day of ocean breezes will be a sympa finale to our French adventure.

So this blog post is written, and I still have a couple of hours before the taxi arrives. Shall I unzip the suitcase and toss in another scarf or top that didn’t make the cut? Nah. I’m good.

Laissez commencer l’aventure!

 

 

 

 

A History Lesson from Uncle Chuck

“There he stood, already beyond my reach, my father, the center of my life, just labeled JEW. A shrill whistle blew through the peaceful afternoon. Like a puppet a conductor lifted a little red flag. Chug-chug-chug—puffs of smoke rose. The train began to creep away. Papa’s eyes were fixed upon us. He did not move. He did not wave. He did not call farewell. Unseen hands were moving him farther and farther away from us. We watched until the train was out of sight. I never saw my father again.” — Gerda Weissmann Klein, All But My Life: A Memoir

My Uncle Chuck, a few years older than my dad, died in 1975. Chuck was a mail carrier. He never married, although he was once engaged for about ten years to a woman named Sis O’Hara. He lived with my grandmother in her apartment on Glenwood Avenue, and he spent most of his evenings after work up on Clark Street at Naven’s Tavern, where he cashed his paycheck and then proceeded to drink most of it.

Uncle Chuck was kind of a quiet guy. He showed up at all the family’s baptisms and graduation parties, always with a card with some cash tucked inside for the honoree. A beer in one hand and a Camel in the other, he seemed to get a kick out of his nieces and nephews. He and my grandmother bickered nonstop, but it was just silly squabbling.

“The Murphys lived on Troy.”

“No, they lived on Whipple.”

Mid-tiff, Grandma would switch to Team Troy and Chuck would switch to Team Whipple, but the sparks continued, each adamant that they were one hundred percent correct.

I knew that Chuck had been in the Army during the war. My dad, stationed in Scotland in the Navy, told us that he and Chuck were able to connect one time in London. But I knew nothing more about his experiences. World War II was ancient history to us kids, so we never bothered to ask.

It wasn’t until years after his death that I learned more, when my cousin Peggy sent me copies of photographs he’d taken. Our Uncle Chuck was one of the soldiers who liberated Buchenwald Concentration Camp in Germany in April 1945.

We’ve all seen horrifying, stomach-turning images from the concentration camps– the grainy black and white photos of emaciated men and women, the piles of the skeletons. We close our eyes, or turn our heads. But what must have it been like for those soldiers who first came upon the scene in 1945? Nothing prepared these young men driving through the gates in their trucks and tanks for what they were about to encounter. These weren’t black-and-whites in a newspaper. Here were real people, decaying bodies of human beings, lying in heaps, with all of the color, the gore, the stench. Real scaffolds, real ovens, real ashes.

Here are a few of his photos. This is the work of the Nazis.

On the back of this one, Chuck wrote, “A human head and blown up heart. These were taken at Buchenwald Concentration Camp.”

On this one, Chuck wrote, “This group of bodies are piled on a truck and loaded on in layers.”

Chuck wrote, “scaffold where thousands were hung. In the background a pile of ashes they had cremated.”

My mother, the only one of Chuck’s contemporaries that is alive today, doesn’t recall ever hearing him speak about these days. I wonder, though, how this affected him. Was he haunted by it? Did he have nightmares? There were no PTSD diagnoses back then, but certainly this might have contributed to his alcoholism.

Recently we’ve been overwhelmed with scenes from Charlottesville, where white supremacists and Nazis took to the streets spewing their evil, the evil that my uncle and my father and countless others fought against.

Trump said, “You also had people that were very fine people on both sides….. And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly.”

No. There are no “very fine people” on the Nazi side. Nazis are evil and so are those who march alongside them. I wish that my Uncle Chuck and his fellow liberators were here to explain that to the occupant of the White House.

 

 

 

 

 

What Were We Thinking?

“… Happy times together we’d be spending

I wish that every kiss was never ending

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true

Baby, then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do

We could be married

 and then we’d be happy

Wouldn’t it be nice?”

 Lyrics to “Wouldn’t it be Nice” by Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Tony Asher (1968)

We met in the Fall of ’68 when we were both nineteen, working in the basement dishroom of the Bayliss-Henninger dorm at Western Illinois University. We flirted while Michael hoisted, then stacked  the clean dishes from the dishwasher and I scorched my fingertips sorting silverware. His glasses fogged up and our already-wavy hair frizzed under the humid haze.

By Spring, we were in love. We got pinned, which was a step up from getting lavaliered. This was serious. Mike went home to Storm Lake, Iowa, to work construction. I stayed on campus to get enough credits so that I could graduate on time. We missed each other, but we rarely called. Long distance was certainly not for idle chitchat. Instead, we wrote letters, now stored in a box down in our basement. On Fourth of July weekend, I took a train to Iowa for a short visit. It was a long summer.

When school resumed in the Fall, we were happily reunited. But the winter trimester loomed, and I returned home for student teaching. Another long separation. I think I may have taken the train down to Macomb once, a four hour trip. It was a long winter.

For the Spring trimester, I was back on campus, my graduation just a few months away. Then what? Would I get a teaching job in Chicago and live at home until Mike graduated? More separation faced us, and we mulled it over. What if I got a job in Macomb? Then we could get married, and end this constant string of goodbyes. Mike applied for married student housing and didn’t bother to arrange a fall-back place where he could live during his senior year. We crossed our fingers.

Miraculously, in May I was hired to teach fifth grade in Bardolph, a hardscrabble little town off the hard road about nine miles away. We were engaged! A diamond? As if! We had no money. Still, you didn’t need a diamond to get married, and we called home to announce the news. Or, did Mike just write a note? Possibly.

After graduation in early June, Mike went back to Iowa while I went home to Chicago to plan our wedding. In two months’ time, we put it all together – a pretty dress and veil, a bouquet of daisies, cute Mom-made bridesmaids’ dresses, tuxes, rings, cake, and the whole shebang. On a warm Saturday afternoon, August 15, 1970, we were married. “Our” songs – “Come Saturday Morning” and “Love Can Make You Happy” were sung. Our afternoon reception at Nielson’s Nordic featured an old-world tradition of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and my maid of honor removed my veil and tied an organza apron around my waist… really, that happened. We were both twenty-one years old.

After the reception, on our way to my parents’ house to change out of our wedding garb, I opened our wedding cards, dumping the cash into my lap while Mike drove our “new” Dodge, the one we’d purchased from my mom and dad at a wedding-gift discount. It was all the money we had in the world, and it would pay for our five-day honeymoon at a St. Louis Holiday Inn. We couldn’t have been more excited as we headed off into the sunset.

Forty-seven years later, we look at the pictures of these two starry-eyed children and wonder, “What the hell were we thinking?” I guess we were thinking that we loved each other, and that whatever happened, we’d be able to handle it. I guess that was true. And, we’ve had a lot of good luck on our side.

In the words to the song that we fell in love to,

“If you think you’ve found someone you’ll love forevermore

Then it’s worth the price you’ll have to pay

To have, to hold’s important when forever is the phrase

That means the love you’ve found is going to stay.”

(Lyrics from “Love Can Make You Happy”, recorded by Mercy, 1969)

 

No Fly Zone

“I still have a full deck. I just shuffle slower.” — Author Unknown

When dinner was over and the dishes were washed and put away, my mother would curl up on “her” end of the couch to watch TV.  Some nights she mended the heels of my bobby socks or sewed patches on my brother’s pants while she watched.  On Saturdays, to the tunes of the Lawrence Welk Show, she set my and my sisters’ freshly shampooed hair in pin curls so we’d look nice for Sunday Mass. But when those tasks were done, she’d keep one eye on Donna Reed or the Cartwright boys and the other on her Dell Crosswords magazine, her ballpoint pen ready to pounce.

My mother has done crossword puzzles nearly all her life, possibly inspired by her sister Liz, an avid puzzler, too. What is it about crossword puzzles that is so appealing? Mom says it’s the mental challenge. The now defunct Chicago Daily News used to feature a diagramless one, a favorite of hers, and according to Mom, “Once you figured them out, they weren’t hard.” Her explanation of the process made my head swim.

When she was a young secretary in a one-girl office of Hires Root Beer, she and a boss often spent down time doing a newspaper puzzle together. One day, when she deciphered a clue, her puzzle acumen so dazzled this guy that he grabbed her and kissed her. Even though he apologized, my mother was so creeped out that she quit within a week. Who would have thought that her word knowledge would result in sexual harassment?

Never, ever has Mom bothered with easy puzzles. She’d go directly to the back of her Dell (it had to be Dell, not some lame substitute) and tackle the hard ones. No pencil, either; just pen. And, when all of the hard puzzles were finished, she’d bring the book of leftover easy ones to work for her friend Nancy… “not that she was stupid,” she told me.

Mom’s love of wordplay doesn’t end with crossword jargon. She chuckles when she recalls witty conversations with her old friend Joe, a fellow puzzle fan.  They’d yuck it up about puzzle words and oddities of the English language. One of Mom’s favorites is disgruntled, as in “A disgruntled employee burst in and shot his employer.” Her question: If someone is disgruntled, can someone else be gruntled? Another: If someone acts in nonchalant manner, can her friend be chalant? These pressing questions never failed to amuse my mother and Joe, while my Dad and Joe’s wife Bernice surely must have been rolling their eyes at such silliness.

Macular degeneration put the kibosh on Mom’s puzzle-solving a few years ago, but this summer we’ve revived her old pastime when my brother or I visit. We read the clues, tell her the number of letters needed, and fill in her responses. And, we’re allowed to chime if an answer strikes us. Doing a puzzle without looking at it is challenging, but Mom is up to the task, dusting off her crossword puzzle jargon along with the plethora of factoids rolling around in her head.

What’s French for summer? Ete. An Asian celebration? Tet. A Mikado accessory? I guessed it was a fan, but I stood corrected. It’s obi. Mom knew what to fill in for Miami-_______ County without ever having been there. It’s Dade. First names of Hammarskjold and of Chekhov? Dag. Anton. What about a big name for a small train? Without a moment’s hesitation, Mom has it: Lionel.

This summer, we started with a toughie at the back of the book, of course. It was a thorny one, and we had lots of blanks to fill. One clue was precise and I stared at the six blank spaces as Mom racked her brain for the answer. “Exact?” she suggested. “Specific?”

“Nope, it has to have six letters.”

Hmmmm. We were stumped. “I’m going to peek,” I said, flipping to the solutions in the back of the book.

“You give up too easy, “Mom scolded, but I cheated anyway.

The answer: TOATEE. “TOATEE!” I cried. “What the heck is that? I never heard of that word!” Just who comes up with these words, I wondered. This is way beyond me.

In a flash, Mom’s look of perplexity switched to one of triumph. “It’s not TOATEE,” she said. “It’s TO A TEE.”

Well, duh. Of course she was one hundred percent right. TOATEE? Really? “I won’t tell anyone you said that, “she promised, but she couldn’t stifle her giggles. Neither could I.

My Grandma Dineen had an expression that described an elderly person whose mind was still sharp. “There are no flies on her,” she’d remark.

No flies on my mother, that’s for sure. That expression fits her TOATEE.

 

 

 

 

 

Separating Fact from Fiction

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.” — Mark Twain

While I was writing Ellis Island, 1923, I could almost hear my grandmother saying, “That’s not true!” Her words rang in my ears as I played around with details of the voyage to America, so, while I don’t know exactly what happened to them on Ellis Island, I wanted to make the event plausible.

Here are the facts:

Yes, Jacob, Magdalena, and Elizabeth did come from Neu Banat, Romania in the summer of 1923. They traveled on the ship America, out of Bremen, Germany, and, according to a website called The Ships List, this ship and several others were detained off-shore until the first of August, because new quotas of the number of immigrants from each country began on the first of each month. Ships raced to arrive at New York Harbor first so that their passengers could be guaranteed entry. This was a potentially dangerous tactic, as the number of ships in a small area of the sea might have spelled disaster. America arrived at 1:02 am on a foggy August 1, 1923.

My grandparents’ ship carried 692 first class passengers and 1056 third class passengers… no steerage. The third class passengers had a small bunkroom with its own sink. These rooms had four bunks, but in my story I didn’t include other passengers in their cabin.

First class passengers didn’t go to Ellis Island. They were processed on the docks of New York, and third class passengers were ferried to Ellis Island. This system was similar to the special perks given to first class airline passengers of today, who avoid the long lines of baggage claim and customs and zip right to the front.

The procedures I’ve described for processing immigrants on Ellis Island are factual. People were inspected for trachoma and other health issues, and those who were unhealthy were sent back to Europe on the ships they’d arrived on, expenses paid by the ocean liner companies.  Since these companies didn’t want the burden of taking people back, they conducted some inspections of passengers before they debarked for the United States. The medical exams on Ellis Island, about eight minutes in length,  were stressful not only because of the fear of failing to pass. The new arrivals were afforded little privacy and their clothing was piled on benches with the clothing of others in line. Regularly, people didn’t pass the health inspections and were denied entry, often resulting in the heart-breaking separation of family members from each other.

Because my grandparents didn’t talk about it,  no one in our family is sure of the details that caused them to be detained. The issue seemed to be a misunderstanding about the amount of money required for entry. Detainees like my grandparents were separated, men from women and children, into crowded dormitories furnished with  cots like the two-tiered bunks described in the story. Detainees were issued five blankets, probably not clean, — two to spread on the canvas cot, and three for covers. They were allotted two paper towels and a bar of soap each night, for personal hygiene. Meals were free of charge.

The food served on Ellis Island was adequate. Breakfast may have consisted of eggs, coffee, and toast; dinner might have been barley soup, boiled beef, vegetables, potatoes, and tapioca; lunch might have been corned beef hash or jelly and bread. Immigrants were often surprised at the unusual foods they were served, and many tasted their first banana on the island.

Volunteers came to Ellis Island to assist the new arrivals. Women from the Salvation Army dressed in their blue bonnets often handed out donuts to the children, and some volunteers entertained the children with music and games.

The story about the baby Laney is sadly true. Laney died, probably of pneumonia, on January 27, 1923, after the family’s passport photo was taken. Throughout her life, my grandmother told my aunt Liz that Laney died because Lizzie let her go outside without a coat. Lizzie, who was three years old at the time of her little sister’s death, carried this guilt with her throughout her life.  My grandfather’s destruction of the cradle is pure fiction. While we don’t know how it got there, the X over Laney’s face on the passport is real. It doesn’t appear in the passport picture shown in the story because my aunt Kathryn had the X photo-shopped out so that she could see what her sister looked like.

My aunt Liz had little memory of Ellis Island, only that my grandmother cried a lot. Who could blame her? Mourning her daughter Laney, separated from her family and the only home she’d ever known, separated from her husband, no understanding of English… there was plenty for her to cry about.

As for my grandfather, he was the one who wanted to come to the United States and he promised my grandmother that it would only be temporary. He never returned to his homeland, however. My grandmother returned once, in the summer of 1937, with my mother Mary and my uncle Jack. My mother’s reminiscence of their visit provided me with the images of life in Neu Banat — the village, the homes, and even the roadside spot where the teenagers hung out. https://hellolamppost49.wordpress.com/2016/08/13/european-vacation-1937/

Perhaps Jacob’s desire to come to America was inspired by his older brother Andrew’s visit home when Jacob was about ten or twelve years old. In the Wolf family picture shown in the story, it is easy to see why an impressionable younger brother might have been star struck by the debonair Andrew.

On the back of the photo is a message written by Andrew that reads: “Much close friend, I grasp pen in best of health to write a few lines to you. Much new I can write about how it does not suit me at home, I wish I were again out there. I was supposed to have taken over my Uncle’s business but it is very weak — out there I earn more in one week than with the business in one month here and I haven’t any enthusiasm here on the farm. It is not like the city. I am well at home by my elders, I have wine and schnapps and what I wish to eat and girls but it still doesn’t suit me, that’s why I’ll be in one month again out there  — now I will close my writing…. Andras Wolf.”

I recently heard the war story about my grandfather and his brother strapping themselves to a train in order to get home from my cousin Maureen, Lizzie’s daughter. My mother has no recollection of the story, and it seems far-fetched, but I included it  because it shows some of the spunk that my grandfather surely had.

Andrew eventually sponsored my grandparents and arranged for them to live with him until they could afford a place of their own. He and his wife lived at 7177 West Grand outside of the city of Chicago, and when the taxi driver took my grandparents on such a long journey from the train station downtown, my grandfather was convinced that the cabbie was trying to jack up the fare by driving them out of the way. My grandfather did work with Andrew in his butcher shop and my grandmother cleaned houses. One of her clients, a wealthy Irish woman, kindly helped my grandmother learn English.

Unfortunately, Andrew’s life took a sad turn. He became an incurable alcoholic and spent his last years confined to Manteno State Hospital, a dismal asylum for the mentally ill. His wife Rose divorced him and took a job as a live-in housekeeper in Glenview. One of their daughters lived with my grandparents while she attended beauty school, and their other children were sent to Florida to live with relatives.

All of us Americans have our own immigration story, and this one is no more special than any other. Every person in the United States, except for Native Americans and African Americans, is here because someone before them made a conscious choice to seek a better way of life for themselves and their families. I am unfailingly awed by their courage, resourcefulness, determination, and work ethic.

Here’s a link to a piece I wrote previously about their first years in their new country.

https://hellolamppost49.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/coming-to-america

Grandma and Grandpa, if you’re out there somewhere reading this, I hope you’re pleased with my efforts.

(Photo taken sometime in the 40’s with my uncle Bob, in front of their house on Mozart Street in Chicago.)

 

 

 

Ellis Island, 1923 Part 14

In the summer of 1923 my grandparents Jacob and Magdalena Wolf and their daughter Elizabeth arrived in the United States, heading for Chicago. When they landed at Ellis Island, however, they were detained because they didn’t have the required amount of money. My grandparents never spoke about their detention, but my aunt Liz recalled that my grandmother cried a lot during the ordeal. What really happened before they were allowed to travel to Chicago? My story mixes fact with fiction to show what might have occurred.

Lena

The New York lady with the pretty clothes had returned. When Lizzie saw her setting up her easel on the other side of the room, she tugged on Lena’s sleeve. “Come, Mama. I want to go to school again.”

“All right, let’s go,” Lena replied. It’s a good thing for both of us, especially now that Marion and her little girls had been dismissed yesterday. Lena and Marion had wept as they hugged goodbye, both realizing that their friendship would not be sustained as they each headed for different cities. Lena felt bereft. How was it possible that she and Marion had become so close in only a few days? She seems like a sister, Lena thought.

The teacher, dressed in a pale green skirt, a blouse of ivory silk, and shoes of dark green leather, propped up the alphabet chart on the easel. ‘All right, children. Sing with me.”

Children who had recently arrived in the detention hall looked bewildered, but Lizzie, who’d sung along with the teacher on a few occasions, chimed in lustily. “A B C D E..” Lena smiled at her daughter. She’s so proud of herself. I hope that she will learn English well when we get to Chicago. She sighed. IF we get there. Lena’s stomach ached with a knot of dread that she could not unravel. Just where was Jacob? Andrew must send money. But what if Andrew never did? Once again, her chin quivered and tears dwelled at the surface of her eyes, threatening to roll down her cheeks.

When the song ended, a matron came forward and spoke quietly to the teacher. She nodded, and then the matron turned to the group. “Mrs. Wolf? Is Mrs. Wolf here?”

Lena froze, then raised her hand. “Frau Wolf,” she said.

“Ah,” she said. “I’ve been looking for you. Come. With your child.”

Lizzie stared at her mother, and when Lena reached out to her, Lizzie grabbed her hand and allowed herself to be led away. Lena felt her face redden as the heads of the other women swiveled to stare at her. Two scenarios played out in her mind – We’ve been released for Chicago. No, we’re being sent back. Lena walked woodenly. She hadn’t been able to read the expression on the matron’s face. Was this good news? Or bad?

Then, the matron turned to her and smiled. “Get your things. You’re leaving.”

“Mama, where are we going?” Lizzie asked. “I want to keep singing.”

The matron leaned down and patted Lizzie on the cheek. “Honey, you’re going to America!”

Was this really happening? Lena’s fingers trembled as she assembled their belongings. She folded a still-damp blouse she’d hung to dry on the bedframe, methodically smoothing the wrinkles from it, then carefully added it to the pile of clothing in the valise. “Get your dolly, Lizzie,” she said, concentrating on keeping her voice from trembling. Lizzie obeyed.

“Ready?” said the matron, and led them out toward the door.

I’ll never be in this terrible place again. But now what, she wondered. Before she could form a complete thought, Lizzie shrieked and wrested her hand from Lena’s. “Papa! Papa! Papa!’

And there was Jacob, kneeling on the floor, smiling broadly, his arms outstretched to welcome his little girl who was now flinging herself at him.

“My Lizzie!” he cried, scooping the child into his arms and rising to his feet. His eyes met Lena’s. Oh, the sight of him! He’s here for us at last! Thank you God!

“Lena, we’re on our way. Andrew sent the money.” She nearly stumbled, and slumped into him. As he pulled her close with one arm, she was wracked with sobs.

“Shh, shh, don’t cry, Lena. We’re okay. We’re okay.” Yet, his voice trembled. Was this really the day I’ve dreamt of for so many years? He set Lizzie down on the floor so that he could take his wife into his arms. He held her close to his chest, stroking her hair, until her sobs dwindled. Then, holding her cheeks in his hands, he kissed her gently. “I’ve missed you so. I’m sorry you’ve had to wait so long.”

“I know. I know. It’s all right. We’re all right.” She gulped deep breaths, working to stifle her needless tears. We are all right.

“Papa, where have you been?” asked Lizzie, scowling up at her father, her hands on her hips. “Mama and I were sad without you.”

Lena and Jacob’s eyes met, glistening, and Jacob once again stooped down to pick up his daughter. “How would you like to go on the train today?” he asked her.

“Really?” she said, clenching her fists in excitement.

“Yes, really.” He pointed to the passageway to the ferries. Then, lifting up the valises, he said to his wife and child, “Come. It’s time. Welcome to America. We won’t ever forget this day.”

The End

(This photograph must have been taken about one year after the family arrived in Chicago. I’m struck by how prosperous and stylish they look, in spite of my dismay at Lizzie’s hair style.)