BC: by: Nicole C., Morgan D., Sophie C., Nicole R. and Jean K.
1: January 2nd, 1899 Today I have made the decision for my family to make the trip across the Atlantic to New York City. This was not an easy decision because I will be leaving Italy after 37 years. I was born and raised her and I will be leaving friends and family behind, and basically everything I know. Supporting my family of five her in Naples is just becoming impossible because of the taxes on the high protective taxes on industrial goods. There are just too many here and almost all of them live in the same poverty we do. Unemployment is horrible you are lucky to have a job here. Disease is breaking out, the heat is unbearable and I need to get my family out of here. So leaving my family behind comes behind all else. Family is a man's number ones priority! It’s just the Italian way. With only 15 dollars to my family’s name, the little salary that I make will never lead my wife and three children to the life I have been working so hard for. I made the decision today after getting clarification about this place called New York. I had heard the men at my job talking about this place called “Isola della Lacrime.” I was told millions of Italians were traveling to this Island of tears I just could not understand why anyone would go with a name like that. But they today I understood exactly why. For a better life, and happiness. At this Island of tear you had to go through a simple inspection, just to see if you were healthy or not. Those who were not were turned own to entering New York. This New York supposedly has roads paved in gold and has never ending opportunity. I can just imagine the life I have always wanted for my family. And so I made the decision to start preparing for this move to New York, first we need more money and then we can start a new life and soon be wealthy, healthy and happy! Donatello Napoli
2: Daer dairy, It’s Jun 20th 1905 We've been workin hard on the farms to come to America and get money for a better and happier life. Pa been working the hardest, he wants to follow his promise in coming to America to get more money for us. If we get a lot more money it'll help out making us a stronger family in being closer together. Pa and Guiseppe fight alot on the fields, complaining about much work they have to do, and why they have to work for so long, but once they don’t have to work in the fields in America they're gonna have a better relationship, from what ma says. She says im too small to understand what struggles were faces now, but i think for a seven year old im pretty smart and independent. Me, Gianna and ma cooked limited amount of foods to eat, in order to save four later while pa and guiseppe work in the fields. Pa says this all goin to work out in the end, and that were just to have to work hard for right now to have the happy ending later. Were planing to meet up with our other aunts, unkles, and cousin when we get there in Manhattan, but not to live with, there tenement is too full, and there’s not enough room. Tomorrow morning were waking up extra early to walk to the port to travel to Elise Island. I'm really excited ...we’re going to Manhattan because Neapolitans are in that area, we don't have a home yet put were just gonna figure that part out when we get there. My family isn't worried about the inspection either were all in good health conditions and were coming 35 dollars, 28 for the ferry 7 dollars to supply for us. Ma and is worried for not making it in America but pa said he gonna take care of us and there’s nothing to worry about. I trust pa he always follows through he promises, and I'm ready for a good journey to come. Sincerely, Domenica
4: May12, 1905 Dear Diary, It's the first day aboard the Patria, the ship my family and I are taking over to America from Italy. The crew members told all of us that it could take us 40 days to reach Ellis Island. Unfortunately for my family and I, we are third class passengers. We get to eat Luke warm soup, boiled potatoes and stringy beef. The food was gross I must say. Sleeping on the ship wasn't any better. The beds were very narrow, and some we stacked three high. But I have to say, my favorite part aboard the ship was playing on the deck with some friends that I met. But when the weather wasn't great, I loved to play marbles and dominoes. The thing I remember most, was as soon as I boarded the ship, my mother had told me to be extra clean because disease spread quickly and many people would get sick and die. This is the longest 40 days of my life and I can't wait for it to be over. | June 21, 1905 Dear Diary, Today's the day we will be arriving at Ellis Island. I woke up extra early to help my mamma pack up all our belongings. I remember thinking about how excited I was to go to America! Later that day, my new friends and I were playing marbles on the ship deck. Not knowing what was going on around us, the marbles started to roll to one side of the boat. The Patria began to tip. I starting panicking, thinking we were sinking. As soon as I looked up, there she was, a giant majestic woman standing tall and proud. The Statue of Liberty. Everyone had rushed to one side of the ship to get a glimpse of her. We made it! We made it to America! Right next to the Statue of Liberty was Ellis Island. It didn't take to long to get off the ship but when we did, my family and I walked into the main building and was greeted by a huge room called the registry room. I waited in a line to get inspected so I could finally live in America. The whole inspection took about three to five hours. Boy did it feel like forever! For a six second inspection, to see whether you had any disabilities or illnesses, sure seemed to take a long long time. I remember walking through the hallway and seeing all the other immigrants in different rooms, some were though to be insane while others were thought to have some diseases. It was pretty scary if you ask me. I also remember the immigration agents asking many personal questions about my life. For example, how much money I had, or if i was married or not, how old i was etc. Luckily my whole family passed though without any problems and were finally allowed to walk through the doors and step foot on American soil, and start a new life. I couldn't wait! -Gianna Napoli
6: May 19, 1905 Dear diario, Ciao! mi chiamo Antonella Napoli and I am from Naples, Italy. I am 35 years old and I live with my famiglia. My husbands name is Donatello. He and I have been married for 18 years. We have three children; Giana my eldest daughter who is 17 years old, Giuseppe my only son who is 11 years old, and my youngest daughter Domenica who is 7 years old. Recently, Donatello has decided to move our family to America. We live in New york now in this very small apartment.Theres barely any room for the five of us.Thats why I try to go out into the city as much as I can. Our lives have changed a lot. Settling here has been very difficult for all of us especially for the children. I know that they will miss our old home in Italy and I will too. Donatello has been trying to find work but the only places that are hiring are low-paying factories. I too am trying to find but to no such luck. I hope I will find work soon.The more time I spend out of the tenement the better.We barely have enough money to buy food and clothing. Sinceramente, Antonella
9: June 21, 1905 Dear Diary, After about 5 hours of inspection which we all made it through, we had to exchange our Lire for dollars. With our new money we bought Limonata (lemonade) and torta (cake) for our journey to our new home. WE left the main building to wait at the port for our boat. There were what looked to be 500 people waiting for the boat with luggage of what they brought with them to America. There were people of all ages, sizes, from many different countries speaking many different languages. When the boat arrived my family pushed through the crowds onto the boat. Every possible spot on the boat was filled with people and luggage. Then we were off down the river, with our new home in site. The sun was warm but the breeze off the water was cold, sending chills up my back. Finally the engines cut and we began docking. Papa grabbed my hand and whispered, Hold my hand tight, dont get lost there are a lot of people, we are going to find our new home. I squeezed Papas hand holding our luggage in the other, excited to finally explore America. Mama and Gianna held Dominicas hands as we all made our way off the ship into the very packed land. As we moved through the crowd I saw a sign that said Borough of Manhattan, remembering the word Manhattan I knew I was home. Eventually we made it onto the street, where it was packed with people talking, yelling, and laughing. Everyone was specking different languages and people were coming up to me with carts of food trying to selling it to me. I held Papas hand even tighter as he asked around to see if anyone spoke Italian. Finally we spotted a familiar man who lived in our town in Italy. He had come to America 2 months ago. He offer up his home for us to stay in for a few days so we could settle, Papa took the offer and we followed him to his tenement. It was a one room tenement with a small cot on the floor and table and chairs. It was tight for the 6 of us but we wouldnt be their long. For now it was home, and home was in America! ~Giuseppe Napoli
10: May 24, 1905 Dear diario, These past few weeks have been very hard on me. I really miss my home in Naples. Even though we have to be hopeful that life here will be better than in Italy. I miss the people in Italy too. The people here are so mean. Right now we live in an apartment in an italian neighborhood. But I’ve been walking around the other neighborhoods and it seems that nobody wants to interact with the other ethnic groups. The jewish stay with the jewish, the irish stay with the irish, the germans stay with the germans, the russians stay with the russians, etc. Since nobody wants to mingle with us, we have to stay with the italians not that that is bad or anything. Hanging around with just the italian community feels like home but it would be nice to get to know people of other ethnicities and know if they had to go through the same things we had to go through in order to get here and if they like living here. I some have good news. I have found a job working in a factory in a clothing factory but I get paid nothing. I only makes three dollars a day which is barely enough to buy dinner. And the working conditions are terrrible. I have to work 8 hours a day for just 3 dollars with the people in charge yelling at me and all the other workers in english. They treat us like animals at that factory. I'm still trying to learn english. I heard a rumor from another Italian immigrant at the factory that there are night classes that immigrants can take to improve their English. But if I did take those english classes, I would never get any rest or have time for my family which is very important to me. I hope that the working conditions will improve. If not I will have to find employment elsewhere. I hope that I will find some time to write some more. Sinceramente, Antonella
12: September 5, 1905 Dear Diary, It’s been about 2 1/2 months since Papa found a job and we moved out of the tenement with our friend from Italy. Within 3 days Papa had a job which offered us to rent a tenement located above Papa’s work. 2 days later Mama found a job working in a clothing factory. Papa made about 20 cents an hour and Mama made 16 cents. We have settled into our new home and survived through the hot summer but now it’s September and Dominica and I have started school. My teacher says we will be learning how to read and write and learn better English. As for Gianna, she has started looking for a factory job such as Mama. Gianna is too old for school, for now she stays home and cooks dinner for Dominica and I before Papa and Mama get home. While we are gone she keeps our home clean and buys the food in town. Soon she will have a job and we will all have to help with the cleaning and cooking. For now everything is going well and we are all happy to be in America! ~Giuseppe Napoli
13: December 8th, 1905 Once again I am looking into the future for my family. The children and wife are doing well, this whole move has been a huge adjustment but we have all learned to manage. The movement, inspection and New York itself were nothing like I expected or promised my family. I feel almost as if I let them down and am afraid that they have lost faith in me. But they assure me that they know I was promised the same things they were. Job searching has been grueling for me but I managed to get jobs. I currently work as a Taylor along with my son and got our family a new home right above my work. Its s till very crowded here but at least was not stuck in a small room with multiple people. I wish sometime soon that things got at least a little better. Maybe we can move somewhere else once I make some more money, I will never stop providing for my family. I am just happy my children will learn and have an education so that they can go far. I hope they have family’s of there own and give them a better life than I was able to. But at least I know I tried my hardest and that things are improving slowly for all of us. But I am glad we came to America, we will write our won American dream! Donatello
15: May 13th 1913 Dear dairy, I'm now 15 years old and going to school for my third year with my new friends and some of my cousins. After I finish school, I get back home and help out and clean the whole house and cook meals for my family. I love going to school, I can now read and write, and I’m starting to learn some math. Pa and Guiseppe are working together in a Taylors factory, they get along great, and actually don't mind their job. Gianna is working in a clothes factory stitching clothes together. So far our family is doing good we've have average money and can get the bills paid by the end of the month. Once in awhile we struggle to pay the bills but we figure out a way to get it done by cutting back on food and try together more hours in the jobs. About 3 years ago we raised enough, money to get a boat and sail the Hudson river and then took a train to travel to Morristown, and found a small house. It has three bed rooms and one bathroom with a small living room and a kitchen. Gianna and I share a room and guiseppe with a small single room. Pa planning to work hard and some day be an owner of a factory, that guiseppe can soon take over after him. Ma isn’t doing to well she very sick with pertussis, a coughing deaise. I’ve been here while Gianna working to try and to help her own family of hers and ma. Gianna comes and helps out too when she can, she's very busy. She now has a husband named john and has two kids that are 3 and 5. I wanna be just like her, have a good family and Mary a respectable husband that can take care of us, and hopefully in a couple of years I will be. Sincerely Domenica
16: Works Cited: "An Immigrant's Journey." Thinkquest. Web.
17: Picture Citation Rugby, Army. Old Train Yard. Digital image. Dpchallenge. Challenging Technologies, LLC, 2001-2011. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.