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My Wonderful Family

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1: America | Ellis Island | ARRIVED April 22nd 1904 | This is the story of my trip from Poland to Ellis Island. I am so thankful that my family can once again be together.

2: Diary Entry Number 1 | My name is Delfina Nowak and I am twenty eight years old. I come from a very large family of 9 children, with me being the eldest. I am now the main caretaker of the family because my mother is very old. My husband Bernard and my father are in the United States earning money for us to come and live. I currently am employed at my mother's seam shop, where I make a decent amount of money in my town. I am disappointed greatly that we are leaving Poland, but I know it will be better for my brothers and sisters there. I know that this is for the good of the family because I love them very much. I don't know what I would do without my family because that's what my life revolves around with me not having very many friends. I am adventurous though to see the new land, and I know that the opportunities in the United States will allow me to successfully open my very own store in time.

3: My Family | My four sisters, Beata (12), Lidia (15), Maryla (19), Wanda (17) all work my mother's shop doing different job. Wanda is an apprentice for a baker in our town; when she gets to America she wants to own her own bakery. Kostek (12), Lewy (15), Piotr (17), and Norbert (26) are my four brothers. They all work for my uncle on his farm in the fields. Norbert is next in line to own the farm because my uncle Ofim is getting very old. They all hope to venture into some kind of business when they reach America. Kostek and Lewy are very excited to go to school when they leave Poland. | Her is a very old picture of some of the people in our family. | This is a picture of my 3 youngest sisters.

4: I hope that after I have gained skills in America, I will come back to Poland. It's a beautiful place and I have been so blessed. There is so much competition for ideas and new things that I am not interested in that happens in America. I want to come back and help my country in the best way I possibly can. Hopefully I can make many Zlotys to provide for the family I want to start soon. I really do also hope that there are others on the boat that are Polish. So I am able to speak in my native tongue of Polish with them. I'm extremely elated that my sister knows how to make kluski which is my favorite food. Along with that, I hope there are others who know how to prepare rosól, kotlet schabowy, and surówka. Most of all, from the letters that my husband sent, there is a butcher who has the serves the best sausage. I think that Beata is probably going to have the most fun in America. Not only will she not have to work, she will get to play with other children a lot. Since she has to work in the seam shop, she is not able to go out and play with her friends a lot. Her three favorite games to play are Ringo, Kapela, and Palent! Every time I mention on of the games she goes crazy!

5: We are really risking it all to be American citizens. We all want a better life together and just to be a family again. I don't know what would happen if we were separated on different sides of the world. I don't think I could survive... Now we've been on the boat for five days and it smells horrible I don't know how long I will be able to take it. The smells are making me sick. I don't think they've dumped any garbage or anything of that sort off of the ship yet. Everything is so close together and nobody can move! I feel like we're animals. There are a lot of people so I've been able to learn a lot about other people and their families. Some of them are very interesting. I even found Bernard's cousin Lydia that I haven't seen for 12 years! I brought my sewing machine, needles, thread, and other things related to sewing. I could never make it in America without them. I will not be able to afford to buy really any supplies until I start working somewhere. I keep watch at all times on them to ensure that they don't get stolen or damaged.

6: America is so beautiful! I'm so happy I am here!! When I saw Ellis Island I fell to my knees and couldn't stop crying. It's the most beautiful thing. When my sisters ran over thinking that something was wrong, but I just couldn't contain the emotion. When they saw nothing was wrong, they just started holding me and start to crying. My mother didn't really want to be bothered. She was too busy in thought and was extremely tired on arrival. When I looked over at my brothers they were all standing in awe, taking in the sights. On the boat ride here, Piotr found a girl that he really likes and was standing there holding her because she too, couldn't contain her emotion. I thought that going through immigration would go slower, but it was surprisingly fast! All of us are very healthy, thank God. The Ellis Island immigration agents are very sweet, I've heard of people saying that they're really rough and are very mean. The only problem was that my sisters and I all had really bad cuts on our hands because we have to use this machine that is really easy to be cut on. The guys also all have cuts from working in the fields and sometimes they have to handle sharp machinery too.

7: I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Bernard. It was almost as if I hadn't seen him in 100 years! I literally fainted when I saw him and luckily he was able to catch me. I couldn't let go of him for at least an hour. We just stayed there, wept, kissed a lot, and caught each other up what was going on in each other's lives. It still feel guilty that I wasn't able to be with him when he first came here, but at least I have him back again. He told me that he thinks we should stay in New York because of his job and my shop I want to open. My brothers and sisters all cried when they saw my father as well because honestly, he is the rock of our family. I've learned a little English because of the bilingual lady on the boat. I want to try every "American" food because Bernard says it's absolutely delicious. Luckily Bernard and my father make good money where they work so we will not have to worry about surviving. I am so thankful to be in this country, and everyone is so nice here! I'll still miss Poland, but I know that I'm going to stay in the United States of America forever.

8: Map of Poland | Jeszcze Polska nie zginela, Kiedy my zyjemy. Co nam obca przemoc wziela, Szabla odbierzemy. CHORUS Marsz, marsz, Dabrowski, Z ziemi wloskiej do Polski, Za twoim przewodem Zlaczym sie z narodem. Przejdziem Wisle, przejdziem Warte, Bedziem Polakami, Dal nam przyklad Bonaparte, Jak zwyciezac mamy. CHORUS Jak Czarniecki do Poznania Po szwedzkim zaborze, Dla ojczyzny ratowania Wracal sie przez morze.

9: My mother is the third from the right and my father is above her | That's a picture of Norbert, Bernard, and some other troops from from Poland. They were showing what the uniforms for the army look like there. | That's a picture of Piotr getting married to his new wife named Adriana.. | On the left is our apartment building. The tallest one is.

10: Hey guys, How are you all doing? I hope you're doing delightful since I've left. I can tell you that it's extremely disgusting and it's something you will never want to endure and experience. There are dead people all around me and people all around me being infected with disease.They get trench foot where their feet get really mutilated and it's just disgusting. Period. A lot of the guys that are a little younger than me or are teenagers are getting trench mouth. It's this infection that erodes the gums, causes bleeding, gives really bad breath and is extremely painful. I do not envy any of the guys that have it. The other gross and sad infection is trench fever. It is caused by body louse and leaves a part of their body of in intense pain. I feel so sorry for them. Well that's all that's new. I love you all! -Norbert

11: Dear my beloved family, I miss you all so desperately. Christmas eve day was something really special. I couldn't believe that all of the fighting completely stopped! In the morning it was business as usual, but then as the afternoon wore on, the shots subsided until there were no more shots to be heard. One of the gentlemen that I've been fighting along side cried tears of joy he was so elated. It was the most special thing anyone could imagine in all of their years of life. The truce lasted all of the way until New Years Day! It was a wonderful time to relax and get to know some of the guys that I'm fighting along side. I've grown pretty close to one of the guys who is quite similar to myself. I've been shot once in the arm but the bullet just grazed it so I'm doing decent. I hope you all had a spectacular Christmas and you had a wonderful time. Love, Norbert

12: My beloved family! I'm terribly sorry I haven't written for a while but this battle in Gallipoli has been raging on. It's been lasting so long, I'm so unsure of when it will end. My commander thinks in about another six months. I cannot wait for this war to be over, as you can imagine. I've had to kill many men in this time and it's making me mentally unstable. It's been very scary; I just want to see you all again. There has been a lot of change in command with the Turks which concerns me for their sake. It is very beneficial for us because it makes us stronger. Some days there are many causalities, but I guess that's what keeps us all on our toes since we are could be the ones dead any day. Do not fret I am determined to make it out alive and see you again! Especially you mother to give you a big kiss. Love, Norbert

13: Norbert! We all terribly miss you so very dearly! We hope you're doing excellent there and fighting strong for our country! You have no idea how incredibly proud we are of you! You're just so brave! I start to tear up at the thought of you never being home and then so does everyone else! I stop because I know you're a man and you're doing the beset job you possibly can and it's excellent! All of the girls had to start working in factories on guns and machinery. Some of the ladies in the factories aren't the brightest and have gotten their limbs cut off from incorrect use! It's so disgusting. It just seems like one after the other of these other men and young boys keep getting drafted! I'm sorry to report that all of your brothers have been sent in. Maybe you'll come in contact with them! Also your father. Since he's older he's one of the last choices, but I guess they have to do what they have to do. You are all so strong and will do such a great job! I love you and see you when you get home. With love, Mom and the rest of the family

14: January 2nd, 1915 The Western Front something simply amazing happened. December 24, 1914 Was the day all of the firing of the shots of the war ceased on both sides for Christmas. Shots persisted throughout the morning as usual, but as the day wore on they slowly dispersed. In some parts the fighting subsided until December 26th. In others, this event continued until January 1st, 1915. This is being dubbed as the Christmas Day Truce.

15: The Battle of the Somme, it began on July 1st 1916. It finally ended yesterday November 18th, 1916. On the first day 60,000 people died. Today there has been a report that over 1,000,000 people overall throughout this whole battle. This entire battle originated out of Chantilly, Oise and at the end reached about 12.2 more miles into the country of Germany. In the end Germany had 465, 181 and Britain had 419, 654 and France had 202, 567 casualties throughout the entire battle.

16: Norbert's draft card

17: First hand account | We had scarcely arrived at the right of Fort de Vaux, on the slope of the ravine, when there came an unprecedented bombardment of twelve hours. Alone, in a sort of dugout without walls, I pass twelve hours of agony, believing that it is the end. The soil is torn up, covered with fresh earth by enormous explosions. In front of us are not less than 1,200 guns of 240, 305, 380, and 420 calibre, which spit ceaselessly and all together, in these days of preparation for attack. These explosions stupefy the brain; you feel as if your entrails were being torn out, your heart twisted and wrenched; the shock seems to dismember your whole body And then the wounded, the corpses!

18: Letter to: Ms. Anna Poschel | From: Howard Courtious

22: THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE is a multi-venue performing arts centre in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jrn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957.

24: Farewell Australia... until next time....

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  • By: Zoe B.
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  • Title: My Wonderful Family
  • This is the story of my family of how we originated from Poland. This is our story to share with others who came from other immigrants through Ellis Island.
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  • Published: over 5 years ago