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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The USA (01/08/09)

TITLE: New
By Joanne Sher
01/14/09


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Anticipation wasn't helping her mood in the least. Phillip and Anthony were getting fidgety and restless, and she didn't blame them. The scenery, the accommodations, the company--nothing had changed in over a week. Even the meals, though filling enough, were bland and without embellishment.

"Are we almost there, Annie?" Phillip had asked her that very question at least a dozen times a day since they left Cork on December 20. And, just as she had countless times before, she tousled her youngest brother's red hair and looked into his eyes.

"Closer than we were the last time you asked, you silly boy. God willing, we will see Mama and Papa very soon."

Phillip looked up and smiled, and was quickly engaged by the gentle movement of the expansive Atlantic. So easily distracted, the little scamp.

"He doesn't remember Mama and Papa, does he?" Anthony's eyes looked troubled.

Annie shook her head. "I don't think he does. It's been four years, and he was only three."

Anthony put his hands on his hips. "Well, I remember them."

Annie giggled. "Of course you do. You're eleven years old. It's easier to remember what happened when you were seven or eleven than when you were three."

Anthony bit his lip. "Do you think they still remember us?"

Annie put her brother's chin in her hand. "Now Anthony Moore, whatever would make you ask a question like that? Of course they will remember us! We would still be in Ireland with Aunt and Uncle if they had forgotten us. Don't you remember the letters?"

Anthony smiled and nodded. "Of course you're right, Annie. I just wish we were there now."

"It must be soon. We've been at sea for days. Perhaps in a day or two."

"Oh, Annie! Annie! I just had a wonderful thought." Phillip hadn't spoken with such enthusiasm since he boarded this vessel.

"Do share, Phillip. I would love a wonderful thought." Anthony, along with his sister, sat on the deck beside their younger brother.

"Your birthday is in two days, isn't it? Wouldn't seeing Mama and Papa be a wonderful birthday present?"

Annie pulled her brother into an embrace. "It would, Phillip. And a wonderful start to a new year."

**

Their twelfth night at sea completed, Annie wriggled in her bed. They'd been told they could arrive any day. She sincerely hoped the ship's crew was right.

Something didn't feel quite right. She went through a list in her head, until she realized what was so odd.

The ship wasn't moving.

She rose quietly from her berth with an anticipation she hadn't felt in a week. Glancing through the peephole, she discovered that the boat was, in fact, tethered to a dock. On my birthday. She shook both her brothers gently.

"Huh? What?" Anthony glanced at his sister groggily.

"We're here. In America. Care to go up on deck and see?"

The boys both popped out of bed. Within two minutes, they were bursting out the stateroom door.

The sun was just rising as they appeared on deck. All three stood, mouths open, staring into New York Harbor.

"Annie. Anthony. Look!" Phillip had turned his head slightly.

Before the three of them was an enormous statue of a woman wearing a crown, holding a torch in one hand and a book in the other.

"It's Lady Liberty," Annie muttered. "Remember, Phillip? Mama wrote about her."

The children huddled together admiring the massive monument until they heard a man's gruff voice behind them.

"Get packed up, children. We'll be boarding a transfer boat and going to the new immigration center in an hour or two."

The three scuttled off to their stateroom.

**

"Our last boat ride for a while," Anthony declared.

He and his siblings glanced out the side, staying close to the gangplank of the decorated barge.

"Happy Birthday, Annie." Phillip smiled.

Annie glowed. "The best birthday present I'll ever receive, I'd wager."

Anthony watched as they pulled up to the dock. He grabbed his younger brother's hand and pushed his sister toward the gangplank.

"C'mon."

They made their way off the boat first and approached the clean, huge, nearly empty building.

They trotted toward the registry desk. Annie stepped forward and placed her papers on the counter.

"Congratulations, young lady. You are the very first immigrant to be registered at the Ellis Island Immigration Station." The gentleman shook her hand, and handed her a $10 gold coin. "Welcome to the United States of America."


Over 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island Immigration Station between 1892 and 1954 on their way to the USA. Annie Moore, age 15, of Cork County, Ireland, was the first.

www.ellisisland.org


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This article has been read 1699 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 01/15/09
How wonderful of you to research this note in history and write a story about it. It's so typical of what the USA is all about. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/17/09
Your title is carried out well in the story, and the anticipation of arriving in America is very clearly pictured.
Jan Ackerson 01/19/09
Oh, you DEFINITELY have to write this book!
Betty Castleberry01/19/09
I'll read your book. As always, you did a great job. Very enjoyable.
Eliza Evans 01/20/09
What a great choice to write for USA!

I'll be honest, though and say I didn't feel the anticipation or the emotion.

The first sentence didn't click with me
"Anticipation wasn't helping her mood"

The definition of anticipation is expectation .. What is she expecting? and how isn't that helping her mood?

And whatever the reason her mood isn't helped we only see her as cheerful and calm, responsible and "together" I would love to hear her feelings described or her inner dialog of wonderings and apprehensions.
She must have had them.

Going by boat from Ireland to America? That's HUGE! "What will America be like? What will it be like to see Mamma and Pappa again?. Mamma! Will it be okay? Am I okay?" (or...)

I wouldn't think Philip, age 7, after being on the ship for 10 days, would be quickly engaged by the sight of the gently rocking ocean... esp. since you had just said that they were fidgety b/c of the lack of interesting scenery.

"muttered" is not the right word. Muttered carries the connotation of "grumble or mumble" and that's not what you are looking for. You're looking for speechless awe. How would you convey that?

The word "trotted" sticks out. Too confident and casual. These kids are in a foreign land.. Everything is new.

I hope I have helped and not discouraged.

I think your story could be greatly improved with a little character development and a realistic portrayal of emotions and events. Make Philip seasick. Make Annie lie awake at night because she is afraid or she misses her best friend or Aunt in Ireland. (or whatever) :)

Benjamin Graber01/20/09
This is a very intriguing story - I certainly wanted to read more! You made the characters come to life!
Teresa Lee Rainey01/20/09
I love this story and appreciate the historical context. Please sign me up for one of the first copies of your book. Seriously, you should absolutely go for it. :)
Angela M. Baker-Bridge01/20/09
I love the history here...nice approach to the topic. I did feel this sentence could be stronger, ""We're here. In America. Care to go up on deck and see?" I don't know any children that would be that low key at such an exciting moment, or use say 'care to' instead of just saying, 'let's go to the deck and...' Good research!
Karen Wilber 01/20/09
I learned something new today! What a cool bit of history.
Myrna Noyes01/20/09
What a fascinating bit of history! To think the first immigrant to register at Ellis Island was a teenage girl! Very creative way to handle the topic! :)
Norma-Anne Hough 01/21/09
Lovely piece of history.
Very interesting.
Diana Dart 01/21/09
Oh how I love a tidbit of history brought under the microscope for me to see - thank you for that. It would have been nice to hear a little bit of Annie's inner dialogue, just for some character development, but the 750 word limit has you under it's thumb eh? :-) This would make a great book with backround and time to get to know the family - looking forward to it.
Beth LaBuff 01/21/09
You've brought this event to life…(my grandfather and his family came through Ellis Island about a hundred years ago).. This is so interesting. Yes, I definitely wanted more too. :)
Chely Roach01/21/09
This was a beautiful mingling of history and fiction, and I too, would love to read more. I LOVE the one word title. Excellent job!
Patty Wysong01/21/09
I enjoyed this bit of history! What an adventure that must have been for them and what a responsibility for Annie!
Leah Nichols 01/22/09
I loved it, and I definitely want to read the book!

I agree that more character development would help the story, as well as context....but oh how I know it's hard to beat that word count! Nicely done. :)
LauraLee Shaw01/22/09
This is a really great story!!! Congratulations on your EDITOR'S choice!!! So happy for you!
Sheri Gordon01/22/09
Congratulations on your EC, Joanne. That novel is waiting to be written. :)
Beth LaBuff 01/22/09
So cool to see this on "The List"!! Super congrats!!
Myrna Noyes01/22/09
CONGRATULATIONS, Joanne, on your EC win with this wonderful story! :)
Joshua Janoski04/21/09
Very interesting. The ending is what really grabbed me, as I did not know that this fictional tale was based off a true story.