True love is a uniquely human experience. It can lead you to a well-
So then, where to begin? That would be aboard the steamship SS Patricia as she sat anchored just outside of New York harbor on a chilly February morning in 1906.The very slightest hint of a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty peeked through the morning fog. As obscured as the vision appeared, it was enough to have just about every immigrant aboard the Patricia up early and out on deck. There, they stood, some jostling for a better position at the ship’s starboard rail where they could peer into the mist in hopes of catching even the faintest glimpse of Lady Liberty.
Three decks above, 18-
But Isaac had selected this private hideaway for more reason than to just gaze out to sea. In his hands every day he held a small tattered notebook, the contents of which he had mastered, practically word-
Like every newcomer on the Patricia, Isaac strained to to see the Statue of Liberty. He had not envisioned the soupy fog, so what he had expected would be a moment of inspiration signifying the beginning of his new life in America turned out to be a disappointment. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be long before inspectors would be boarding the ship to begin the preliminary processing of passengers. Those who passed this initial phase would then be ferried to Ellis Island where they would complete the qualifying process for entrance into the United States. Or not.
Isaac had no concerns about passing the required medical examination. He was young and in good health, fitter than most thanks to his strenuous labor working in the railroad yards of Hamburg. No, he wasn’t particularly large and muscular. He stood only five feet eight, but he had a sturdy build, a tight stomach and strong arms developed from swinging a sledgehammer almost daily for several years. His brown hair had turned a lighter sandy color from constant exposure to the sun and his baby-
Isaac had accumulated all the proper documents, in addition to complying with other requirements: he would be met by his Uncle Joseph, already a successful business owner in Philadelphia; lodging had been arranged at a rooming house near where his uncle lived and Isaac’s work experience had made it less difficult than usual to secure a job as a yardman for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
None of these obstacles gave Isaac any concern. He had planned his emigration for well over a year and worked hard to ensure he would fulfill all the requirements. What he was anxious about, and sent him burrowing back into his notebook for a last-
But Isaac had indeed prepared himself well. After a short wait in the stuffy, over-
First, he had to exchange his Deutsche Marks into American dollars. There was a station inside the main building where he could do this. The line, unfortunately, was quite long and it took nearly an hour before his German currency was tabulated and he was handed a stack of U.S. dollars and a few coins. He quickly put the money in a small leather folder in which he also carried his personal documents. had no idea how the conversion rate worked so he had to rely on the honesty of the teller to give him the correct amount. This was one more item he wished he had spent a little more time studying before he left Germany.
Next, he needed to purchase a train ticket to Philadelphia. Conveniently, agents representing various railroads were on hand at Ellis Island to sell tickets and provide transportation for immigrants who were traveling to other locations beyond New York. After Isaac completed his arrangements, he retrieved the single worn leather suitcase he had relinquished for inspection upon arriving at Ellis Island. It was not a large piece of luggage and it showed the scars and scratches of a well-
Within just a few hours he was seated on a train bound for Philadelphia. It was early evening, later than he had anticipated getting underway. The train was half empty and Isaac was able to put his suitcase on the seat next to him. This gave him a chance to open it and make sure nothing had gone missing while it was sequestered at Ellis Island. To his relief, everything was there. Isaac carefully placed half his money inan envelope and tucked it within a layer of folded shirts inside the suitcase. The rest of the money stayed in the leather folder which he returned to the inside pocket of his jacket. He had been warned to never put all his valuables in one place. Newly arriving immigrants were easy prey for street thieves.
It had been a long day and his final worry was whether or not Uncle Joseph, who was to meet him at the train station in Philadelphia, would still be waiting for him now that he was on a later train than originally planned. Uncle Joseph was his mother’s older brother. Isaac had not seen him for several years and he hoped they would still recognize each other. His uncle was to accompany him to his one-