Wednesday, May 5, 2010

a few more pieces of our trip

When you board the ferry that goes from the Jersey shore to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, you are right next to the original docks where the ships brought immigrants:

A photo in the museum shows a boat filled with immigrants coming over the very same dock. My great-grandfather, whose Sicilian name was Giacinto Mazzola, must have walked over this very dock when he came to America alone at age 11. Wow.

His name is inscribed on the wall of registered Ellis Island immigrants and his progeny is spread throughout the southeastern U.S. from New York to Alabama.

The Ellis Island museum is filled with interesting history, statistical displays and artistic tributes such as this one:

which gradually changed

from the faces of many cultures

into an



But the old photos were what made the museum extraordinary.
I could have stayed and studied them all day: their clothes, their shoes, their luggage, their postures, their expressions, their eyes. What a journey that must have been.

It was eerily sobering the way the above photo of the children's faces reflected in the glass casing for these handmade shoes, found in abandoned luggage, probably of a child who did not survive the journey.
Or who was sick upon arrival and outgrew them while getting well in the Ellis Island infirmary.
Or maybe just of a family who, in the chaos, could not locate all of their luggage and simply moved on to their new life without it.

It was a clear, sunny,

windy day.

Perfect for viewing the lovely Lady of New York.

Note the size of the people milling about at the bottom. The fame and glory of this statue is far from overrated.

And Spring was budding at the Statue of Liberty.
Apart from sight-seeing,
The whole reason for our visit was to see family and celebrate my great aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary.

I wish we could see this side of the family more often.
There were so many riveting stories told,
some naps taken,

And cousins re-met.
When you only see your cousins every 10 years, you have to re-meet them. I wish it weren't so.
There should be a law against families being spread so far apart :)
And we should try harder to save for a "Flying-to-See-Family" fund. I'm already turning over ideas for a "Meet-in-the-middle" reunion.


  1. What a cool trip. I know what you mean-- we used to all live about 300 miles each way apart, and would meet in the middle-- at our grandparent's farm, or at some cabins on a lake-- a few times a year. Now we're more liek 1300 miles apart and are having a big, week-long reunion visit in Montreat this August for the first time in years and years. I can't wait!

  2. I love the pics from your trip! I could just hear "husband" conversing in the one with your family. Hope you both are doing well...loving SC still. BTW we WILL be in Jax for Memorial Day...hope to see you then!

  3. Yes, it's sad that families are so often far apart! But the get-togethers are wonderful!

    I love your trip photos. The ones of the immigrants are fascinating. I always wonder what they were thinking, what they left behind, what did they expect to find, and how many of them actually found it?

  4. Wow - looks like you covered a lot of ground in NY! I love Lady Liberty - great pics & I like the flag/photo display too. Enjoyed seeing the city thru' your lens!


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