My Reasons for Leaving Home


January 18, 1889

Papa says we don't have enough money for the new shoes I need. We can't afford it if we still want to make the trip.

I'm not sure if you know this diary but we're going to AMERICA!!!!! Papa told me last week, he can't find money here any more, he said job where I said money but I know we have no money. Since Mama and Josef passed, it's been hard for him. Mama can't help with finances, she used to work at the mill making shirts with pockets but cant anymore. We're poor. And so is Poland. It's amways cold here and I am having such a hard time with this dreadful cold I have somehow obtained. We're leaving in the morning and I can't wait. It will be hard to leave this house, it's where Josef and I took our first steps, and where Mama used to read to us at night before bed.

I am sad to go, but have you heard, America's street are paved with gold!

Look at my shoes, I've pasted a drawing I did, don't you think I deserve a new pair?

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My Image of America Before Leaving


January 21, 1889

Gold, gold, gold. That's what David told me, America has gold. Everyone at school talks about it. You go there and there's this tall green lady and when you pass by her she reaches into this light she has in her hand and hands you a piece of gold as big as your head...

I can't wait to see her.

Papa says he'll find a job the second he reaches the shore. The beach, we'll be at the beach. I can't wait. I'll go to school and meet new friends. And I can do whatever I want, Diary, did you know America is a free country, you can say, do, think, speak, whatever you want. Gosh I can't wait.

This is the America in my mind, I can't wait to get off the boat!

(I realize this is a little too early for The Wizard of Oz, but I thought it was a good symbolic piece.

My Voyage to America


January 23, 1889

We are on the ship!!!! Oh boy is it grand, with steam and how huge it is. There aren't as many children as I would have thought. This boat, papa says should get us there in half the time the Malinowski's journey took. We're not even sailing. But, there are bad things. It's always cold, boy do I regret telling you that home was cold. I woke up yesterday and walked along the deck and I could swear I saw frost! I thought Papa would have gotten a first class ride, like the boy I saw on the upper deck has. He was wearing a tuxedo! A tuxedo on a twelve year old! He looked like comeone had spit on him like I spit on my pennies to make them shine. He yelled to me to get the yo yo he had dropped like I was his slave! He even called me a 'Dirty Jew'! Papa said to ignore him.

The food, did I mention the food yet? It's terrible, and Papa wont let me eat the meat. It's not kosher and he says all we have now is our faith and to never, ever let that fail us.

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My Arrival in America


February 11, 1889

I was wrong, and so were the people back home. The trip was dreadful and I couldn't wait to get off the boat and see the green lady, but guess what, she wasn't giving anything out. She wasn't even moving. I couldn't believe everyone was so wrong. We got here and were rushed off to this place called Ellis Island. I didn't really understnad much, but Papa said just to follow him and when someone said anything not to talk, let him talk. You see Papa speaks a little english and I think he was afraid we would get in trouble because I don't speak any. He said the word 'deported' about a million times. 'We must hurry or we shall be deported'. I'm not sure what that means, but I didn't like the sound of it. What a dirty word. Well at this place I felt like I was back in Physical Fitness class with Miss Finchlinski, I had to look at things and point, and grab and pick up things. The big fair haired man would yell at me and Papa, quietly, would whisper to me what to do. He would tell me when to nod, and when to smile. The man was awefully mean, I never want to go back to that place again. Just as we were entering a woman in front of us got in a lot of trouble, she was scratching and had little white flecks all over her head, she wouldn't stop scratching. Papa said we must not scratch, and I was a good little soldier, I did what my Papa told me. But, when we got out Papa was so happy! We said a quick prayer and then were off. Papa said he knew some people who we were to spend time with. The Linchskins had written him back at home and told him that if he ever decided to come to America that they would help him. Boy did they. But I'll get to that later. I will never listen to those mean boys at school ever again, they lied to me. I saw no lady handing out money, just one big green useless statue. Here she is.

My Job


Papa found a job, and since I 'am not allowed to get one, my job is to go to school and learn to be a good American' I will tell you about the work he does. He makes meats! Can you believe it, not pork though. But chicken and beef, I asked him if he could get us a big brisket for dinner one night and he said he would never even think aboutdoing a thing like that! He could never.

Home and the Neighborhood


The Problems and Hardships in America


How I've Been Helped in America


About me

  • I'm Emily Kolshienski
  • From New York City, New York, United States
  • My profile

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