From Ireland to America

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Rachel's dad had been gone for a while to the "better land." Will Rachel go there too?

Submitted: January 08, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 08, 2016



I sat down on the brown, spiky, grass, well if you could call it that. It was mostly dirt with little, dead, brown, spikes sticking out of it. I was thinking about my father, Tom McGowan, he left my family  four years ago to find us a better life in America. He said that he would write us when he did, but he never wrote back. I sometimes worry about him. Every night as I went to sleep, I would ask myself, will I ever see him again?

I hoped he would write back soon because things weren't looking so good in Ireland. My family was running out of food and water to use and our small shack was on the verge of crumbling. Also, the only thing for clothes that we have are our old undergarments and three large potato sacks for each of us. My sister, Anne's, sack was so wide that it hung off to where you  could see her undergarments.

I loved Anne dearly but sometimes she could be very bothersome. Whenever she got a new "sack" she always insisted on adding some violet dye from the berries to give it a little "fantabulousness", is what she liked to call it. At first, momma would always deny her and say that they couldn't waste the food that we had on a sack that nobody's going to see you wear.

She would always get as red as her hair and grit her teeth, then momma would say, avoiding a fit," Just use eight berries."

Today, even though the golden rays of sunlight were high and bright in the sky, it was very chilly. Momma made Anne and I wear the old cow skins around ourselves so we wouldn't catch a cold. That day, during the noon meal, the mail arrived. The mail always arrives on Tuesdays, if you get any, and usually when you do, it's a bill from someone that you owe money to. Momma sighed in frustration, "Rachel, will you go get the mail?"


"Yes ma'am," I replied, knowing that I'd have to split momma's chores with Anne while momma searched the house for loose change.


But when I greeted the mailman, he didn't give me an envelope that looked like a bill. It even had a stamp from America! I slid my finger on the smooth yellow envelope, tears of joy dancing in my eyes. "Momma! Momma!" I cried, "I think it's a letter from daddy!"


Momma leapt out of her chair and ran to see the envelope. She opened it and read aloud:


Dear Family,


Hello, I am very sorry to not have written. I really hope I have not worried you.

I miss all of you dearly. I found a nice little cottage in a town name Los Angeles, California.

I have a job at a local market. When I came in to America, it was very confusing and  challenging and I did not want to put my dear family through that. That is why I have waited. They are opening up a place named Ellis Island to get you in as peacefully as they can. Come as soon as possible, I will be waiting! Also, it will probably be a long ride to Los Angeles from Ellis Island. Hope to see you soon!


 Love your father,

 Tom M.


Mother had tears of joy streaming down her cheeks. She managed to mutter, "Help me pack."

At first, I was so happy to be able to see dad that I just couldn't stop grinning. Then the sad part hit. I realized that I was going to miss the wonderful Irish air. What if I was made fun of for my horrible red hair in America? Then, I got nervous. What if I was stuck in a storm separated from mother and Anne on the boat? I didn't know if I could do this, but I had to see my dad.

I finished packing and went to go make tonight's potato soup for mamma. It was one of daddy's recipes. It had potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans in it. When mamma came in the kitchen with a sack to pack all of the canned food in she said, "The first boat to Ellis Island leaves tomorrow."

We ate our food and mamma congratulated us on our good cooking. After we cleaned up the kitchen,  Anne and I went to lie down on our thin cots with our scratchy blankets. When we had blown out the candles,  I heard Anne mutter, "Rachel, are you scared?"

"A little," I replied, "Go to sleep, I know you're tired."

After about five hours of tossing and turning, I finally fell asleep. I popped out of my bed in the morning and squinted at the golden sunlight. Today was the day. I was going to America. I was going to see my dad.

Because we were poor, we had to take all of our luggage to the bottom of the ship.

There were many people on the bottom of the ship, and they all were skinny and pale. I immediately stopped feeling sorry for myself. We set our luggage in a small cramped corner that smelled like mildew. I looked around, and everybody looked the same.

Then, the storm started. Raindrops pounded the windows. The boat rocked back and forth, next it lurched forward. Then, I realized that my mom and Anne had gone missing. I screeched her name, my throat getting sore. Then, the storm stopped, and the boat flew back. Luckily I landed on somebody's cot. Most everybody was okay. Just one man grazed his knee, but he was fine.

I saw my mom and Anne holding each others hand, looking for me. I ran over and told them that I was fine. I told them the whole story. Starting from the boat rocking to now. After I had finished telling them what happened to me, they relaxed.

A few days later, we arrived at Ellis Island. I stepped out and felt the warm rays of sunlight. They felt great after a few days in the bottom of the ship. First, we met a doctor who checked us to see if we were sick at all. It lasted about ten seconds. Both my mom Anne were fine also. Then, we met a tall, skinny, blond lady who asked us a whole bunch of questions like our name, occupation, final destination, if we knew anyone in America, and how much money we had. My mom didn't seem to happy about the money one.

After we had finally gotten through all the steps of Ellis Island, I saw my dad. He was tall and had short red hair. His brown eyes sparkled and he smiled when he saw us. We all ran over to him and hugged the breath out of him. We all had tears streaming down our cheeks. Finally, my family was back in one piece.


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