Miguel, with his uncle and grandmother
by Miguel Garcia
My grandmother lived in Puerto Rico, in San Juan. She was about 17 and she was not very well off.
She had been saving money since she was 15 years old to be able to go to America and work, then send some money back to mom (Great grandmother).
When she was finally 18 years old she could not go because she was pregnant with her first child which later became my uncle. Well, after her first kid she decided to wait a year, then go.
A year later, she boarded the boat. Her map said to take a boat to Florida, then an airplane to N.Y., and then a bus to New Jersey.
So taking the boat to Florida took about 2 to 3 days, and she wasn't in a classy boat either. When she finally arrived in Florida, she found it very hard to communicate with the English-speaking people.
She stayed in Florida for two weeks because she liked it a lot. It reminded her of home. Yes, she already was homesick, but scared at the same time.
After two weeks she took a plane to N.Y. It was her first time being on a plane and it did not go well. She threw up 6 times in the course of a couple of hours.
Remember her kid? She had to leave him with her mom.
Anyway, when she got to N.Y. she took a boat to New Jersey. Then she slept all that day because she was so tired. The next day she had to go out and look for a job.
She looked, and she looked and she looked some more, but nobody wanted to hire an immigrant! The year was 1946. She's still alive and pretty old, too.
Well, the next day she went looking again, but no job. This went on for about two weeks. She was running out of money and food.
She had to find a job quick or she would starve. Yes, finally she found a job, working at a laundry market, helping elderly people, but that didn't pay that well so she had to take a second job as well.
After a couple of years my grandmother found Roberto. She fell in love with him and had four kids that survived. Two died.
To this day my grandmother cries when she speaks about coming to America. She had a job and she made her mom proud. After a couple of years, when she could afford him, she was joined by her youngest son.
My grandmother is now 62 and I think, last time I checked, still living.
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