Today the boy and I went to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I hadn’t seen them, and neither had, he, but I think he got more out of it. His grandfather actually came through New York while mine came through, I think, Louisiana. So, Ellis Island has never had that kind of mystical American experience for me that a lot of people have.
One interesting fact: there is no record of anyone at Ellis Island ever changing anyone’s native name to one that’s more Americanized. While people all the time say that their family’s name was changed at Ellis Island, there is no proof that stuff of that nature ever happened. Which means that many people probably changed their name of their own free will. But I wonder where that myth (if it is a myth) came from?
Seeing the Statue of Liberty was amazing. It’s a beautiful piece of art, and I am awed at the idea of an artist creating such an intricate piece of artwork on such a colossal level. But the audio tapes I was listening to were overly sentimental, and I couldn’t help but think that, given our traditional love/hate relationship with immigrants (just look at the debate today about Latin immigrants), that these people coming to America were met with a bit of a lie. Here is this symbol saying that we will take the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, while on the other hand keeping new arrivals in poverty and insisting that they instantaneously learn English.
As the boyfriend put it, I’m a bit of a buzzkill. But, he was a bit ridiculous. He paid me $10 to carry his bag to the islands and back.friends, New York, vacation