Grandma, The Voyager
At the young age of 10, a young Dutch girl with insanely black, curly, hair sailed the sea on a big ship from Holland to the United States. Kissing the fields of tulips and windmills goodbye, she said hello to the land of the free. Wearing her wool skirt and a light cotton top, she endured the long trek on the ship with her large family of seven. One can assume the trip came with a great deal of memories. Those memories like seasickness, insomnia, but most importantly the jittery feeling that is expected to come about when waiting to arrive at an unfamiliar place.
That young girl with the wooden clogs was my grandmother. Prior to coming to the states, her name was Egberdin (pronounced with some phlegm in the beginning and then ber-dine). Luckily, she simplified her name to “Tena” to become more “American-esk.” Grandma once told me about when she arrived to New York that late Saturday night in 1956. She reflected back to when she met her cousin for the first time. She described her cousin as being six foot tall with rollers in her hair. Grandma and her sister remember being so confused by the rollers, because they did not have such a contraption back in Holland.
After her and the families’ arrival to Upper New York, they hopped on a train for a short 3-day trip from Ellis Island to Ottumwa, Iowa. There, Grandma somehow made it to her home in Pella. To this day, she is perplexed as to how she and her family made it to Pella, and it will always be a mystery to her. Tena, along with her family and cousins, all packed into an old, two-door DeSoto car and made the drive to Marion County.
There were many challenges, along with many blessings, that came with her new home in Iowa. A hurdle that had to be overco...
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...hat drugs and prostitution is a big problem there (which would make my over protective mother less than eager to allow me to visit).
Sometimes, when I think about my grandma and her experiences, I wish that I could have been the little girl on the ship. I wish that I could have experienced America when it was simple and great. I wish that I could have amazing stories that I could share with people that would set me apart from everyone. Although, if I were the little girl on the ship, I would not have been lucky enough to have a special woman in my life like my grandma Tena. I have always had a wonderful bond with her and I am fortunate to have so many memories with her that will always make me smile. I look forward to visiting her often, not just because she raises border collies so she always has puppies, but because, without fail, I always leave in good spirits.
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