Day 1 we did a walk in Central Park which led us to a little baseball game, Strawberry Fields, and a ride on the carousel...a walk down 5th Avenue causing a few shopping sprees and a trip to the top of the Rockefeller Center...then we headed downtown to Little Italy and Chinatown, and back uptown to walk through Times Square before heading in for the night.
Day 2's adventure was a boat ride to Liberty Island to see the Lady, and another boat ride to Ellis Island to tour the museum. This was really meaningful to me, as it may be to many of you other Americans reading this...
My great-grandfather Augusto Silvio Fonderoli (pictured on the bottom right of the next collage) traveled by boat from Italy (originally from a small town in the province of Bologna) to Ellis Island about a hundred years ago when he was only 18 years old, to start a new life in America. I stood in the same room that he may have stood in for days....As I toured the museum and learned about the process of immigration back then, I imagined what he went through, and how hard it must have been. Today, we think that a 9 hour flight to get to Italy is rough...but back then he had to be on a boat for 18 days...could you imagine?! And only bringing one trunk of personal items and maybe a pillow. To start a new life. I respect that so much. I never met him, but I felt him when I was there, and I know as much of his story as I possibly can now. What an incredibly hard-working man.
Could you imagine saying good-bye to your child at 18...knowing they were getting on a boat and traveling half-way across the world to another country with no cell phone. We would never survive these days.
During those times of immigration, many boats would arrive at Ellis Island at one time. People would get off the boat with their belongings and leave them with the designated authorities. Then they would head into the building to the registration room (pictured top left) and wait until their turn to state their names, where they were from, where they were going, and what their skill was. Then they would receive a 6 second medical exam, and from there be told if they were fit to find their new home in America or if they needed to stay and have their case reviewed. Sometimes the process took days. Days and days of many people crowded in one big room, all speaking different languages, waiting to find their destiny. Pieces of the wall have been found to have graffiti from the people waiting(pictured in the middle of the next collage). It was neat to think that possibly my great-grandfather signed that wall while he was waiting to be dismissed.
I believe that my great-grandfather had no troubles and was sent on his way. He got on a train (brochure pictured top middle) and headed to the midwest, to a small town in the middle of Illinois, to mine coal, and start his new life. From what I found at the museum, it looks like my great-grandfather may have spent around $68 to make his journey.
He was one of seven children in his family and the second to emigrate to America. All but one of his siblings ended up eventually emigrating to America. Once he made it to the coal town in Illinois, he lived with his sister and her family. A few years later he met his future wife (who emigrated from Italy as a child with her parents) he would later have four children with..one being my grandfather.
A few years ago, I researched our family history for the purpose of knowing but also to see if it was possible for my dad to get Italian citizenship. I went to the county courthouse, library, and genealogy office and found so many interesting documents. A lot of documents were lost along the way, but it was so neat to find what we did. It was a puzzle of our life. Our family history.
The top right, and bottom middle pictures are pictures of my great-grandfather's passport pages and the registry paper from Ellis Island.
After Ellis Island, we went to Ground Zero to view the 9/11 Memorial. It is so gorgeous and breath-taking. A wonderful tribute to those who lost their lives. It was touching to see so many people there to pay their respects. As I stood there, I tried to imagine the events of that day, and just couldn't imagine what everyone involved was feeling. It is just so sad.
The next morning we left super early, so I was a little out of it. Well you know when you are a little out of it, things may seem a little more ridiculous than they are? Well I was browsing the plane magazine and found this:
***********OH.....And I almost forgot...Puffin had a little surprise for us when we got home...She laid ANOTHER egg!!!! Now there's TWO. This is getting out of control...