Stephanie's Voyage

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young girl growing up in Poland in the late 1930's is forced to Immigrate alone to America to escape World War 2.

Submitted: April 13, 2017

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Submitted: April 13, 2017

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Once upon a time in a small village in Poland, there lived a girl at the age of ten named Stephanie Jupa. Stephanie was a beautiful child, with perfect curls, and a sweet face. She lived in a small house with her untenable father and her cruel stepmother. Stephanie's mother had died giving birth to her, and her father married her stepmother three years later. Stephanie’s stepmother was never sympathetic but in fact was incredibly greedy, and was jealous of Stephanie’s effortless beauty and innocence.
Currently, it was 1939, and World War II had just started, and Stephanie was very frightened. Earlier that morning, she had been eavesdropping on her dad and stepmother while she went to go fetch water from the well as her stepmother had instructed. She had heard them arguing about sending her away to America, away from the Germans and their bombs. Her father insisted that Stephanie be safe, while her stepmother whined about the cost. Stephanie was a smart girl, and knew that the price of a boat ticket to America was very expensive. She then realized that they couldn’t afford to buy one yet. “How will we get the money?” She wondered. She was pondering this as she walked to the well, and was surprised to see a stranger leaning casually there. She was old, maybe sixty, and she had bright white hair. As she drew closer Stephanie realized that she and dark circles under her eyes. She wore rags that had probably been a dress at some point, but were now torn. Despite her disheveled appearance, she had twinkling blue eyes that seemed to find the amusement in life and the goodness in people.
“Can I help you?” Stephanie inquired, “Are you lost?”
The old lady let out a quiet laugh, “No dearie, I’m not lost, although you seem to be. Why aren’t you in America, with all the other children from the village?”
Stephanie’s face turned bright red. “My father and stepmother can’t afford a ticket.” She mumbled, looking at the ground.
The old woman smiled kindly, “Now, now, that’s nothing to be ashamed of!” She exclaimed. “Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. If you will give me a drink of water from your well, I’ll give you the money to buy a ticket to America!”
Stephanie was excited, she would get to travel to America for just the price of giving the kind old lady a drink. She agreed hurriedly, pulled the bucket from the well, and let the old woman drink from it. She then drew up another bucket of water for her stepmother, and hurried inside. Later that night, as Stephanie laid awake imagining her voyage to America, she heard a shriek. Peeking out of her room, she saw her stepmother and dad staring at the table, where 50 zlotys had just appeared. More than enough money for Stephanie’s trip to America.
One week later Stephane found herself on a dismal ship headed for America. Her stepmother had insisted that she must use some of the money to buy herself more jewelry, leaving only 10 zlotys for Stephanie’s trip. As she looked back at the small town where she had been raised, she felt a jolt of glee run down her spine. In two weeks, she would be in America! As she turned around, she saw a little sign hanging on the balcony. It read: ‘Please welcome the celebrated fortune teller, Madam Sibyl! If you wish to have your fortune told, please head down to level three, aft. It only costs three dollars!’ Stephane contemplated getting her fortune told. “Why not?” She muttered to herself, “there’s not much to do on this ship anyway.” 
She headed down the creaky, rusted metal staircase, and stopped in the hallway. Odd sounds were coming from the first room on the left. She cracked open the door, and saw what she assumed was a lady, wearing a long silk dress, at least seven different scarves, and a veil that covered her entire face.
“Hello,” greeted Madam Sibyl in a soft tone of voice. “I assume that you’d like to have your fortune told?”
“Um, yes please,” Stephanie replied nervously.
“Please sit down, and give me your hands.”
Stephanie sat down in a chair facing Madam Sibyl. She then placed her hands, palms up, in Madam Sibyl's. 
“Ah, yes, I see,” muttered Madam Sibyl, tracing the lines on Stephane’s hand. “I see a long, successful life, full of happiness and joy.” Recited Madam Sibyl. “Oh! And something surprising shall happen in the near future.”
“Thank you!” Stephanie exclaimed, handing three dollars out to the fortune teller.
“No, sweetie,” said the generous fortune teller, “you don't need to pay me, it was my pleasure!”
“Thanks!” Stephanie smiled at the fortune teller, and left the room.
The voyage turned out to be shorter than predicted, thanks to the strong waters of the Atlantic sea. The ship ended up reaching New York in only ten days. As Stephanie disembarked the ship and walked down the gangway, she savored the feel of the salty wind tossing her hair. She looked around, and saw the jolly face of her Aunt Margaret smiling at her in the sea of faces watching the passengers disembarking. She ran over and hugged her aunt. She hadn’t seen her in over two years, ever since her aunt, uncle, and cousins had set sail on a different ship headed to America.
“Aunty Margaret!” She squealed, hugging her aunt very tightly. Aunty Margaret was a kind woman, with a wide face, an even wider smile, and a giant heart. It was her who had taught Stephanie to be brave, one of the reasons that Stephanie had been able to make the long journey alone without being frightened. 
“I missed you so much!” Exclaimed Aunty Margaret squeezing Stephanie tightly back. “We have a house in Albany, now. It's big, and I just know you will love it!”
“Of course I will!” Stephanie agreed. “Where is your horse and buggy?”
“Oh,” answered Aunty Margaret, amusement in her face, “Here in America we have a new invention, called an automobile. It doesn't use horses!”
“Really?” Stephane questioned, amazement in her face, “No horses?”
“Yep, that's right!” Replied Aunty Margaret, now openly laughing.
“How does it work?” Asked Stephanie, not bothering to hide her curiosity.
“Well,” explained Aunty Margaret, “It uses a contraption called a motor to make the wheels turn, which grip into the ground and propel the car forward. The only problem is that it releases smoke, which makes it smell bad, and it’s noisy.” As she said this she wrinkled up her nose.
Stephanie laughed. “Where is your automobile?” She asked, trying the new word out.
‘It's just over there.” She pointed to a sooty black colored vehicle. It was big, but it looked elegant, and proper too.
“We should probably get going, you have school tomorrow.” Aunty Margaret decided, and stepped in. Stephanie followed her into the automobile, and in no time they were off! As the car bounced down the bumpy road, Stephanie gazed around at the busy city. 
It seemed that the journey came to an end all to soon, but as she looked at her new home, Stephanie forgot all about the automobile. The house was gigantic, probably four times the size of hers back in Poland, and it was a beautiful light blue color. She ran inside and gazed in amazement at the elegant entry hall. Stephanie spent the whole day exploring her new home, and hugging and laughing with her aunt, uncle, and cousins. Soon, it was bedtime, and as Stephanie lay in her new purple bedroom, she wondered about her home back in Poland, her father and stepmother, and her friends. That’s when she remembered that she was going to school tomorrow. With this exciting thought still in her head, she fell asleep.
When morning came, it was a rush of madness to get ready for school. Stephanie got dressed, shoveled some breakfast into her mouth, and ran out the door. On the short walk to school, Stephanie noticed that there were many birds singing. “Hey pretty birdie!” She exclaimed to a particularly elegant white dove that landed on her finger. 
“Hi!” It replied enthusiastically, in a high pitched voice.
Stephanie was so startled that she dropped the bird. It flew back onto her finger, staring at her reproachfully. “Y-You can talk?” She questioned shakily.
“Of course I can!” The dove replied indignantly, ruffling its feathers.
“Then why can't the others?” She asked curiously, looking around at the other birds.
“Because I was sent as a messenger from your fairy godmother!” The dove replied, its tone of voice clearly showing that this should be an obvious fact.
“M-my what?” Stephanie asked, sure that she was hearing things.
“Your fairy godmother, obviously.” He read her expression of disbelief, then added, “everyone with a pure spirit has one. Those kind of people let off a special radiance that almost everyone else is jealous of. The fairy godmother’s job is to guide and protect them. Your aunt has one, and your mother had one too.”
“So, what is the message?” Asked Stephanie, still staring at the bird as though it might disappear at any moment.
“Your fairy godmother asked me to tell you:” Here it paused, clearing it's throat importantly, “You will meet me soon, so don't do anything rash before you see me. Oh, and don't tell anyone about this.”
“Okay,” replied Stephanie, taking in the letter slowly  “Who is my fairy godmother, anyway?”
“That, I can not tell you. You'll have to figure it out for yourself.” The dove replied, and with that it flew away.
“Wait! Come back!” Stephanie called out desperately. She glanced down at her watch, and noticed the time. It was 8:55, and school started at 9:00. Aunty Margaret would have a fit if she was late for her very first day of school. She sprinted up the concrete steps, taking them two at a time, and dashed into class, making it with a minute to spare. She plopped into a chair, and looked up at her new teacher. She had her back to the class, as she was writing on the board, but Stephanie thought her white curls looked vaguely familiar. 
“Hello class!” Said Stephanie’s new teacher in a soft voice. Then she turned around with a friendly  smile on her face.
Stephanie gasped. Her teacher had soft, wrinkled skin, and a radiant smile, but what struck Stephane the most was her twinkling blue eyes, that seemed to find the amusement in life, and the goodness in people. “You!” she exclaimed under her breath, staring in amazement at the person who Stephanie now realized had been the old lady, and fortune teller, and who was now her fifth grade teacher, and fairy godmother all in one. 
“Hello Mrs. Caron!” The class replied.
“Class, we have a new student joining us, please welcome Stephanie Jupa, from Poland.” Said Stephanie's fairy godmother.
“Hi Stephanie!” The class chorused, smiling at Stephanie.
“Stephanie, if you could meet with me at morning recess, I will explain some things to you.” Her fairy godmother asked kindly.
“Of course!” Stephanie replied hurriedly. 
The rest of the morning passed in a blur, and at morning recess Stephanie knocked on Mrs. Caron’s door.
“Come in,” called Stephanie's fairy godmother. “Hello Stephanie!” She said as Stephanie walked in.
Stephanie closed the door behind her. “You're my fairy godmother, aren't you?” 
“Yes, and if you'll sit down, I will explain everything.” Stephanie's fairy godmother promised.
Stephanie sat down, and her fairy godmother started explaining immediately. “When you were born, your mother’s last request was for me to keep you safe. You see, I was her fairy godmother too. So, when the Germans started bombing Poland, I decided that I needed to get you to America. At that point you were a little too young to know that I was your fairy godmother, though, so I had to move you without you noticing. I also have to stay with you, to protect you, so on the ship, I pretended to be a traveling fortune teller. As soon as you got to America, I pretended to be a teacher. Now that you know who I am, I will continue to be your teacher, in order to protect you further.” As she said these last words, Stephanie jumped up, and hugged her. Now that Stephanie new that she had always had someone looking out for her, that cared about her just as much as her own mother would have, the world seemed a brighter place. That night as she was brushing her teeth, Stephanie glanced in the mirror and thought that she saw a new little twinkle in her eyes, just like in her fairy godmother’s.


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