The Family Leaves Naples: Destination Montreal

The ship that we traveled on was the President Wilson belonging to the Cosulich Societa Triestina di Navigazione. The ship had gross tonnage of 12,578 tonnes. The duration of the trip was intended to be ten days leaving the fourteenth of October 1927 with a stop at Lisbon to take on additional passengers. The total cost of the trip for the five of us, two full fares, two half-fares, one one-quarter fare for A total of three and one quarter fare came to 6,158.90 Lira at that time the lira was worth about five cents Canadian and made roughly $ 310. for the whole family. I don't recall much of the trip activities except knowing that we were sick most of the voyage. The stop of the ship at Lisbon is remembered because all the passengers were on the deck and vendors in their small boats were around the side of the ship and baskets on a chord were lowered to them and they would put in fruit or other things they wanted to sell. The baskets were pulled up to take whatever was purchased and the baskets lowered again with the money in them.

On the ship there is little I remember. As told afterwards we were sea sick most of the time. Litio was well and he would roam around and bring us food from dining room. A steward from the dining room would visit regularly and had food sent to us. The ship had a mishap either a partly broken propeller or other engine trouble. Our arrival in New York was delayed by two days. On the previous day to arrival, mother bundled all our clothes and put them in one bag. Also all garbage was picked up and put into another bag and told Litio to go and dump it. He did just that except that he took the wrong bag and threw all our good clothes overboard. Sowe had to keep the clothes we had on until we arrived in Montreal. On arrival in New York we did not go to immigration island because that was reserved for the passengers that would remain in the States.

On leaving the boat we got to Grand Central Station, I don't know how. That evening we would take the train for overnight travel to Montreal. The train at that time was run by the New York Central, the Central Vermont Railway and the Canadian National Railway. We had no special accommodation and rode in the coaches. We must have taken a taxi to get to Grand Central Station and arrived there around noon all hungry. Mother did not know what to do. A black steward approached us to find out what was going on as we were all crying. To communicate with him mother tried Portuguese but he did not understand. Somehow by sign language he understood that we were hungry and were looking for some food. He left and came back a short time later with a loaf of sliced bread and some bananas. Mother took out a handful of money to pay him for what he had spent. He took something and I am sure that whatever he took was not more than the expense he incurred.

Our first benefactor in the new world was a black man who was compassionate enough to find out why children were crying. That was the only meal we had before getting on the train. What happened on the train? Someone else will have to tell us. We arrived at Montreal the following day, October 27, 1927, at the Bonaventure Station. The station burned down in the 1950s and is now replaced by a Canadian National freight terminal.

At last: CANADA, the promised land of opportunity.

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