FC: America: A New Dawn | Based on the true story of George Papadopoulous | by Nick Prieston
1: Dear journal, I am scared. So is my family. The war with Turkey is leaving thousands of Greeks dead. We are thinking of immigrating to America because if we don’t, the Turks will kill us. We are only allowed one bag, and all we have is clothes. The only thing on my mind is worry that the Turks are going to come into our house and torture us and kill us. My mom, dad, and sister are very worried. We know America will be sympathetic and let us in, but we don’t know when or where a ship is to go. And we don’t know if there ever will be a ship to take us.. For all we know, the Turks could have burnt it down and killed the crew. I think the end decision will be that we are going to go, though.. We have to live very carefully and look for signs of attack from the Turks. I can smell pastitsio coming from the kitchen.. Mom is calling me.. Time for dinner.
2: Dear journal , We are going to go to America. When we boarded the ship, it smelled like wood. It was nice. After a while though, it was terrible. The smell of wood was replaced by the smell of sweat, puke, and waste. It was cramped, cold, and windy. My sister hated it even more than I did, and that meant she was not happy. To get some fresh air, I was on the deck of the ship. I was leaning against the rail, playing with my worry beads when something flashed out of the corner of my eye. Coming from a war zone, my instincts told me to turn. A green dot appeared out of the horizon. Right away, I knew what this was. I ran as fast as I could without being impolite and tugged on my dad. Apparently he was sleeping, and was about to yell at me about being fifteen and acting like a three-year-old when I told him about what I saw. We both grabbed and my sister and went upstairs. It was larger now, and it was harder to see because of all the people crowding on the rail. You could just make out the outline of Ellis Island and you could see the shining torch in the early dawn. Dad told us to get our bags and pack up our stuff. It is going to be a long day...
3: Dear journal, I am now finally settled in America! The story of our immigration process went like this: When the boat pulled up to the harbor, we waited in line to get off. From there, we walked up to the enormous building in the center of the island. First, the doctors checked us. When we passed, the inspectors asked a lot of questions, like why we were coming here, who was coming here, you have any relatives. None of us knew English, so he had to get a translator. When that last question was asked, Dad pulled out a sheet of paper. It was in Greek, and it said to go to Theodore Syrannous in Seymour Conn. The translator gave the inspector a nod, and we walked in to where we would sleep until the next ferry. We said goodbye too Mom and my sister, because America separated girls from boys. That was very emotional. We slept a long time that night, my dad and I. The next morning, we woke up to find everyone leaving. We were scared of getting lost, so we followed after them. It was the dining hall! Dad and I sat next to each other and ate. The food was very good, but different. The next seven days were like that, until we were told that the next ferry would be arriving today! We packed up, and went to the boarding station. There, we met Mom and my sister. We boarded the ferry, and headed for New York! Once there, we showed the sheet of paper that we brought from Asia Minor to a pedestrian, and he told us where to go. (Thankfully, he spoke Greek.) We took the next train to Seymour, Connecticut, where we met Uncle Theodore.. From there life looked good.
4: Dear journal, Dad caught polio! We now know bits and pieces of English, and the doctor had to explain this to my brothers and sisters. Since we immigrated here, my parents have had four brothers and one sister, and we got our own house! My Dad’s leg died, so now he might get LGM. This means that now his leg is dead, and he will be next if they don’t cut off his leg! But he doesn't want to cut it off, so he ties it to his back. That next day, he woke up and told me to come to church with him. He told me about a message God sent him in his dreams, so I went straightaway. We prayed there, and the priest even saw us on our way out. He did this the next six Sundays, just like God had asked. On the sixth Sunday, my father’s dead leg started tingling. He started screaming and yelling for someone to cut the ropes binding it against his leg off. They did, and his leg stopped hurting. But then, a miracle happened. His leg came back to life!
5: Dear journal, I married a beautiful woman named Anne, our children’s names are Nike, Elane, George, and Jason. Nike has had two children, a boy and a girl. Elane has had two children as well, two boys. The youngest one will be a trouble maker, I can tell. George has a baby due, and his name will be Nicholas, after the Saint. Jason hasn’t had any kids yet, but I am sure that Ellis Island will always be remembered through our family.
6: Photos (We never had glue until we came here, so all of my photos are here) | The boat I took | The Statue of Liberty
7: My old house in Greece | My new house with my Uncle