Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kathryn in America: Trip to America

Immigrants inspected upon arriving at Ellis Island

I cannot remember details except mother mentioned Hango and Liverpool to load on food for the voyage.  I do remember men carrying large raw carcasses of meat on board.  To me, that looked terrible having never seen anything like that. The sea trip cost about 300 marks ($60) at that time.  North Sea was very rough and we were sea sick. The Atlantic crossing was on the Cunard Liner Carmania. We shared a cabin with two young ladies – we did not travel steerage class, though I’m sure it wasn’t on the first class. I remember someone died and was buried at sea. Wrapped in a blanket on a board and dropped over the side. I saw what were either whales or sharks following the ship afterward. We landed in New York on Ellis Island, where everyone was detained and examined. Mother’s arm was sore and swollen yet from the vaccination in Finland. There was a long train trip next, to Milwaukee, Wis. We sat and waited there for another train. The station agent showed a clock and pointed to some hour (sign language) and he must have asked us if we were Polish – because mother wondered why he talked to us of police! Then another train ride to Bannerman Junction, Wis. where got a sort of box car train to Redgranite which was not too far, anymore. When it stopped we just sat there until a Finnish man popped his head in and said “Tule pais vaan, taalla Ottokin on” (“Come out, this is where Otto is.”) That was Jalmar Lind (Esther Aijala’s father) he somehow always had free time – my father had to work that day and could not come to meet his wife and child.  But, Redgranite was a small town and all the Finns knew when someone was coming from the Old Country.

The depot was not far from the house where my father was living with his brother and family.  Victor’s wife, Anna, came running along the dusty road to meet us, her long, wet skirt trailing. She had been scrubbing the kitchen floor on her hands and knees – (it never did get finished that day!) great excitement. They had three daughters at that time already, Linda, born in Tampere, Nov. 2, 1900 – Marion born in Allentown, Pa. and Aina Elizabeth (Alice Salo) born April 13, 1906 in Redgranite. I think the month of our arrival was either July or August.  Father came home after his day’s work – he had already bought a cow – in preparation for our coming. He very proudly milked it and gave me a cup of freshly milked warm liquid – (ugh) I saw where it came from but I drank it just to please him!

Immigrants waiting in line at Ellis Island in 1907 (none of these a relatives of mine, I just found the picture on the internet.)

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