"The nurse was still taking care of me. She took me outside to sit and see all the boats go by. I sat there and I wondered, 'Will they let me into the United States, or will they send me back?' I so much wanted to live here in the United States." (Marge Glasgow)
Motherwell, Scotland circa early 1900's courtesy https://www.pinterest.com/dcarbray/motherwell/.
Marge Glasgow was born and raised in Motherwell, Scotland to a Catholic family. In her hometown, the Catholics and Protestants were always fighting. Her father worked as a puddler at the local steel furnace. On Friday nights, he would head from work straight to the pub. Several hours later, he would sing as he stumbled down the street to home. "Of course, my mother was ready to beat him over the head with something," explained Marge.
Marge excelled at Highland dancing for which she received many medals. By 15, she was already working, but she felt like there were many more opportunities in America. Marge's neighbour's girls were working at a factory in New Jersey and sending money home to their parents. Marge thought she could do the same.
In 1922, after much convincing, Marge convince her parents to let her make the trip to America. The voyage took ten days during which Marge helped a sick mother care for her baby. Marge was apprehensive when she reached Ellis Island remembering her mother's warnings about how they checked your hair for bugs. "I remember the Great Hall, and at the desks there with men. I don't know if they were doctors, judges or what, questioning the people..."
A list of codes and their corresponding medical diseases/issues used at Ellis Island courtesy http://www.federalobserver.com/2011/10/22/immigrants-were-quarantined-at-ellis-island-until-screened-for-good-health-and-morals.
All alone, Marge started to cry hysterically. An official explained to her that they were simply checking her eyes to determine if she had the disease trachoma. Marge stayed in the Ellis Island hospital for ten days. "The nurse was still taking care of me. She took me outside to sit and see all the boats go by. I sat there and I wondered, 'Will they let me into the United States, or will they send me back?' I so much wanted to live here in the United States."
When Marge reached the mainland, she discovered that at 15, she was too young to work in a factory. She was hired as a domestic for a family in Newark, New Jersey. Sticking to her promise, she saved up enough money to bring her father and mother over. Marge married a German electrician. She owned two successful dress boutiques which put her six children through college. In 1997, she was 101 years old and living in rural New Jersey.
Dresses circa 1940 courtesy http://vintagedancer.com/1940s/1940s-hats/.