"Everybody got to one side of the ship to see the Statue of Liberty. There were howls and screams and "America, I love you." Everybody in his own language. It was a celebration." (Carl Bellapp)
Bucharest, Romania circa 1930 courtesy
Carl Bellapp was born and raised in Romania, the son of a barber and homemaker. His father's barbershop had three mirrors. His mother, a "saint", used to feed people who didn't have enough to eat. Carl's house did not have indoor plumbing; walking to the outhouse in the wintertime was chilling.
Carl's father and older brother immigrated to America in 1927. Carl was left to act as the family's chief breadwinner. Later, his father sent money for Carl and his sister to immigrate. They took a train to Bucharest and caught a second train which travelled through Yugoslavia. In Italy, they boarded an Italian ship called the Conte Grande. They passed nine days in steerage, during which Carl's sister was seasick.
In New York Harbor: "Everybody got to one side of the ship to see the Statue of Liberty. There were howls and screams and 'America, I love you.' Everybody in his own language." Language became a stumbling block on Ellis Island, each immigrant was given a tag. Carl's said E.I. "Am I considered a criminal?" he wondered. But E.I. simply stood for Ellis Island.
Carl and his sister settled in their father's apartment in New York City. Their father had found work as a barber in the Big Apple. The highlight of the new place was the indoor toilet. "It was heaven."
Barbershop circa 1930's courtesy http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/03/16/capitol.hill.jobs/.