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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Emigration

In the fall of 1977 my parents made the decision to emigrate from England to the US.  I remember sitting in the lounge with my sisters when my parents told us that we were going to move to America, we were sooooooo excited. We had heard of New York, California, and Hollywood, that was our total knowledge of  US geography,  we had never heard of  Fort Wayne, Indiana.
For the next several months not much happened then in January my parents flew to Indiana so that my dad could start his new job and my mom could help get an apartment set up and take a whirlwind tour of the Fort Wayne neighborhoods and schools. During this time my sisters and I stayed with a family friend in England and continued with our day to day life.  A few days before my parents arrived in Fort Wayne there had been a once in a lifetime blizzard, never had my parents seen so much snow, truth be told most of the residents of Fort Wayne had never seen so much snow, it is all my mom talked about when she returned home a few weeks later. We were impressed to hear about the snow we were really anticipating the fun we would have the following winter when we would be living in Indiana.  In Great Barton, Suffolk, where we lived in England, we had the occasional snow fall, however just a couple of inches of snow would be enough to paralyze the community.
Throughout the spring of 1978 we helped our mom get ready for our transatlantic move, the house went up for sale along with most of our possessions. Toys were given away to the children's ward  at the local hospital, we did keep our teddy bears, our everyday dishes were sold, the dryer, the freezer, the kitchen table and benches, most of the furniture, bedding, towels, beds, dressers, by July all that needed to go was gone.  The moving men arrived and packed up the nicer furniture that my parents wanted to keep, and other items such as books, our encyclopedia sets, some games, pictures and other bits and pieces, little did we know that we would not see any of this stuff again until April of the following year.
With the house sold we left to stay with relatives, we stayed with my Nanny, (dad's mom), we visited with my aunt and uncles, during this time mom made sure our passports and visas were in order and that everything was ready for when it was time to leave in early August. After a couple of weeks we said our sad goodbyes to dad's side of the family and went to stay with my moms sister, Aunt Sylv.  Again we visited with more aunts and uncles and cousins and had an enjoyable time.
In early August my dad flew back to England and drove to my Aunt Sylv's house to pick us up. Finally the day had come, we were leaving to go to America! Our journey began as we arrived at Heathrow Airport.
My sisters and I had never been on a plane before, the three of us sat in row together, each clutching our teddy bears, we were 14, 12, and 6. It is a long flight from London to Chicago, the novelty of flying wore off after three or four hours and we still had at least that long to go until we arrived.

My Teddy Bears, Andrew on the left I have had since my fifth  Christmas,  and Puppy Love (Snoopy) was a gift from my Dad on my 14th birthday! Both traveled with me to America, now they keep me company in my sewing room.

But arrive we did, we landed at O'Hare airport on a bright, sunny August day. We were so excited to finally get off of the plane and to be in America. We came out of the door of the plane into the hottest, most humid air we had ever been in, and were so excited that we were in America! We had arrived, we were in Chicago, we were standing on American soil, actually on American concrete airport runway, but with the first leg of the journey complete our new life had begun.


***To this day I cannot listen to to Neil Diamond's, Their Coming to America, without crying, it stirs such emotion in me.  "On the boats and on the planes, their coming to America, never looking back again, their coming to America...their coming to America TODAY!!!"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFwSzZQ4MVI  Enjoy- and don't tear up :)***

4 comments:

Ember said...

So interesting to read that story! Waving from the Old Country! xxx

Barb, ofs said...

What a great story! And I'm a 2nd-generation American and I STILL can't listen to that Neil Diamond song without tearing up.

Bean said...

Waving back at you Ember :)

Barb, what corner of the world did your family come from, when did they arrive in the US? You should share the story some time.

Bean

Pete said...

Very thoughtful Bean. Marian and I both enjoyed the replay enormously - stressful times but the best of times ;o)
We are both so glad that it was a positive experience for you and your sisters - it was the most momentous and productive decision we ever had the privilege to make and thought long and hard since we were making it for all of you as well.
Certainly everything appears to have turned out well and we are personally so relieved not to be "growing old" in the UK or anywhere else in Europe.

Pete