Monday, April 9, 2012

Out and About

Happy Easter, everyone! As part of our Easter vacation, we managed a second family outing last week, this one to Ellis Island. I've been wanting to take the girls there for years. My maternal grandmother arrived there from Sicily in about 1920 and spent about a month there, as her ship was quaranteened. Several years ago, my uncle added her name to the "Wall of Names" of loved ones, and we were able to find it. Her name was Itria Messina, and they gave her the name Lillian on coming to the US, presumably because there wasn't an English translation for Itria.
The Great Hall was especially impressive, as you can see below. The displays and audio tour helped paint a vivid picture of how an immigrant would feel after weeks on a boat crossing the Atlantic, seeing the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, and then disembarking to see the grandeur of the buildings on Ellis Island. It seems like it would take an extraordinary amount of courage to leave your homeland to start all over in a new country, especially if you don't speak the language, yet so many immigrants took the risk. It's quite awe-inspiring.
The Statue of Liberty was also awe-inspiring, as you can see. The statue is currently closed for interior renovations, and we were there too late in the afternoon to explore Liberty Island anyway, so we just enjoyed the view from the ferry. It was another bright, clear day, and the visibility was fantastic.
In between outings, I've been hard at work on my "totem" and hope to have some progress photos soon. It's supposed to be completed by Thursday! Hope I can do it...

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