One of the things he particularly wanted to do was visit "Lady Liberty" and Ellis Island. With very detailed instructions and directions, he and I managed to get from Brooklyn to Battery Park where the boat boarded. Fortunately we decided to leave "at the crack of dawn" almost. The boats were full but not the huge crush I've experienced before. The trip over was uneventful except for my motion sickness. As soon as we reached land, it dissipated.
The Statue is wonderful and amazing! But Ellis Island inspires awe. Imagining the millions of immigrants who braved the long, arduous trip in the bowels of a ship, filthy conditions, perhaps people dying around you. The smells, the fear and anxiety mixed with excitement and trepidation at the thought of a new land and loss of the old. And the sea-sickness. Particularly heinous to one who has experienced this illness on every kind of transportation and recreational apparatus!
Coming to a new world. Maybe with a plan-indentured servant, family or friends awaiting your arrival, a profession or occupation to insure your survival in this strange land.You arrive-the huge figure of the lady in the distance, landing on Ellis Island. Hardly able to walk on your sea legs. So many "coming to America."
You're with child and happy and excited to welcome this first generation American into your family. As you cling to your husband to avoid separation, you are abruptly pulled through a gate. Your man starts to follow and is denied entrance. Panic, sheer terror. You plead with guards, cry and reach out for him. Finally, a harried man's face softens and says,"you must stay at the hospital until the child arrives." You gaze blankly at him-you don't speak English.
When I learned that pregnant women had to stay on the island until they gave birth, I couldn't stop thinking about it. On one site, they spoke of around 350 babies being born at the hospital. I was surprised there weren't more.
When I think of the settled lives most of us live, I can't even imagine the determination and bravery so many millions have demonstrated.
We didn't have time to see everything-I may have to do it again someday.