Thursday, April 09, 2009

Guest Blogger - My Dad

My Dad was barely a teenager when his family immigrated to America from the United Kingdom. He's been here for 53 years now, with nary a trace of his former British accent (you would think he's a born and bread Texan by his drawl), but the memory of his voyage across the sea is still very much ingrained in his memory. I've heard bits and pieces of this story over the years. Dad tends to be a quieter soul when the whole family is together -- probably because he's utterly surrounded by yappy females; so the whole story of his coming to America is actually a newer story to me. I think it shows I should ask more questions and keep my yap shut when my elders are talking.

And so today I introduce to my children the story of their OP's voyage across the sea to a new land... America. Thanks Dad for agreeing to guest blog today. I hope you will contribute more over the months ahead. My boys really should know how fortunate they are to live in a country as wonderful as ours, and how much their ancestors sacrificed to give them this life. (I should also add that Dad was born originally in Haifa Palestine, and immigrated from there to England when he was a toddler)

Coming to America

It was a pleasant evening on that summer day in June of 1953 in England. I was out playing with my pals Barry Kell and Hughey Sloan. When I saw my dad (your grandfather) get off the bus and walk to our house, I knew it was time to go home, because we all ate together when my dad arrived home.

I knew it was going to be a "different" evening by the tone of dad's conversation. After eating our dessert, dad said that he wanted to talk to the whole family. I had no clue what he was going to talk about, but I knew it must be important.

After a few minutes of "soft talk" dad said he had something real important to discuss with us. I suddenly started getting a little shaky when he said that. It was unusual for him to say that, as he always came right to the point in any of his conversations.

He started out by saying that he had thought long and hard about our future. Dad had worked for the United States Air Force as a civilian employee since 1948. He then made the statement: "I am thinking of moving.....to the United States!" We were all taken back by this. "moving to America!!!!!!!! WOW!" Was he kidding? We were English and proud of it!

After he told us some more of his plans for the family, I started getting scared....Move to another country? Saying goodbye to all my friends? Becoming an American? Was he kidding?

He went on to tell us more of his family plans. The more he talked the more scared all of us were (including my mom -your grandmother- who by this time was sobbing her heart out.)
Mom continued to fight this move until the very end!

I went to school the next day and proudly told my friends that I "was going to live in America!" Most of them simply didn't believe it. It was even hard for me to believe it.

It took nearly a year and a half to get all the arrangements taken care of - visas, inoculations, paperwork, etc. Finally a date was set....October 19th, 1955 we were to board the ship The Ivernia for our trip to America.

On that October,19th in 1955, I went to tell all my friends and teachers at school one final goodbye. I remember my Math teacher making the comment "so you are going to the 'land of milk and honey' heh?" I said yes and fled the room before I would start to cry.

That afternoon, we drove to Liverpool and to the ship. We boarded at mid afternoon and set sail later in the afternoon. What a trip! 6 days later we arrived at Montreal to see my mom's sister for a few days before we flew to Texas.

Finally, we arrived at our new home in Lubbock, Texas. What an adventure!!!!!!!!!

We went to buy school clothes and other necessities to get enrolled in school. I finally got to wear long pants, but I was still not in style....my mom bought me some blue jeans but they were lined in a plaid material.....not like the Levis that all my classmates would be wearing!

It was truly an adventure of a lifetime. Here we were in a new country and a new life style. It didn't take us long to become "Americanized".

Even though that was 53 years ago, I still remember with vivid details everything that happened. And now, after 53 years, I am proud to say "I am a PROUD AMERICAN!"

The Ivernia, the ship my Dad took when he immigrated to America

3 comments:

Kimi said...

I love reading these stories about our family!

Debbie said...

Great Blog Dad. You should start your own blog.

Tales from the Crib said...

I agree, we should pressure Dad to write his own blog...