Coming to America Essay

Submitted By mistterius
Words: 1467
Pages: 6

My Journey To The Golden Land, The United States of America
Troy Gardner
HIS/120 – U.S. History 1865 to 1945

May 2012
University of Phoenix

I am glad I chose to leave our homeland. The constant flooding kept destroying our home and with the lack of jobs, the money situation was being used as quickly as it was earned. Many people in our village had become sick and died due to disease from destroyed food supplies. Lack of food and no means to take care of my family forced me steal food and supplies from others. Unable to provide consistent meals forced my family to become terminally ill as well. Unfortunately, with the gradual death of my wife and children, I decided that there was really nothing holding me here in our village. Other villagers had packed up and spoke of the “Golden Land” in America. People who had already left spoke of many opportunities such good fertile soil for healthy and plentiful crops, schools for children, jobs, and plenty to eat. Finally, no one would have to worry about starvation. I watched as many families parted as the men and oldest child would leave and go to America so they could both work to make enough money to afford the expense of bringing the remainder of the family over to be with them. With nothing really holing me here, I will be traveling alone, since my family had all passed on due to illness. I made my way to the shipping port with literally no money in my pockets. I knew I had to find a way to get on the next ship so I too could enjoy the fruits of the “Golden Land”. I managed to beg for scraps of food and mere pocket change of folks that would help me out. Since I was a hell of a card player, I figured I would try to hustle some money from others by playing poker. There were four other men and one woman playing poker in the alley and I joined the game. Quickly making a good sum of money, slowly as other players were reaching into empty pockets, I was becoming more and more confident about earning my fair to America. One of the other players, completely out of money, put up his boarding pass as part of the winning pot. My nerves were very stressed at seeing this. Know I had a crappy hand, I decided to try and bluff my way to that boarding pass, so I decided to take a gamble and go all in with my current winnings. Miraculously, I won!! “America, here I come!!” I shouted. The boarding pass was only good for steerage, the very bottom level of the ship, which is where most of the other immigrants also had to travel. Upon boarding the vessel, all people boarding had to undergo an extreme health check up. I notice that all the men and boys had to get their hair cut really short and girls and women had to have their thoroughly combed for lice. The reason for this, was shipping companies were held responsible for returning unhealthy people back to their homeland. The journey took about forty days to get from Europe to a place called Ellis Island. During the travel, people would go up on the open decks of the ship if the weather were pleasant. We ate slightly warm soups, some breads, boiled potatoes, and stringy meat, most likely beef. Much of the food that was given to the steerage passengers looked like left overs and things that should have been thrown away. During below deck time, people often played simple games like marbles or checkers, while others visited with family and friends, or people from other places that were also traveling to America. The journey wasn’t always pleasant; there were severe storms and even illness, which did make some people perish. It is said that the huge statue there was the gateway to freedom. Once we reached Ellis Island, there were more doctors and specialist that had to check everyone who came off the ship. Folks that passed with a clean bill of health were allowed to leave Ellis Island and start their new lives. Others were not as fortunate. If they were deemed unhealthy,