Arduous Journey Brings Grandmother to Land of Opportunity

Traveling across the Atlantic was an arduous trip for German grandmother; immigrants were thankful to reach the land of opportunity.

| Good Old Days

A letter from my grandmother details her arduous journey from Germany to the United States, the land of opportunity. 

Well, Gloria, you want me to tell you something about my trip over the ocean heading for the land of opportunity. Well, there is not much to tell, you know I was only 13, and children don't think much. They take things the way they come. We left Germany the first of March, 1868. We were put on the ship in the afternoon, and the steamer lifted anchor right before we were settled in our bunk. When we went on deck, we could see no land any more, but we were not on the Atlantic Ocean but in the North Sea. But the sea was as smooth and as calm as a floor.

There were 900 people on board, and all were afraid to get seasick. They told everybody to walk against the wind, then we would not get seasick. So everybody tried it, and you ought to have seen the people walk. But before long a Russian stepped to the rail and vomited, you know that is the seasickness, and everybody laughed at him. But it didn't take long – one after another did the same thing, and I did too.

Soon the deck was empty. They all were too sick to stay up. Next morning we were at Liverpool, England. There we stopped 24 hours and took in provisions, and you ought to have seen the stuff people brought on board – whole halves of beef and boatloads of vegetables. If anybody wanted to go on shore, the sailors would take them.

Well, the next day we started on our trip to America. There were larger waves than in the North Sea. Sometimes we could see ships in the distance riding on a high wave. Then all at once it was gone, and a large wave came between that ship and the one we were on.

It was quite interesting to sit and watch the waves and the people. Some were laughing, some were crying (they were homesick already). Some were singing, some played the accordion, some the French harp. Then some were dancing, so you see it was not lonesome, and we were feeling good after the first three day were over (the seasickness lasted three days – but Mother was sick from the first day to the last).

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