Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

In America


On March 22, 1919, Ellen, with great anticipation, sailed from Goteborg on the Swedish liner Stockholm bound for New York on her way to join Petrus.
The boat trip was not a luxury cruise; accommodation on the emigrant ship was quite spartan. However, Ellen enjoyed the vast view of the sea and the relaxation of the long, seven-day cruise, spiced with the occasional buffeting of the North Atlantic.
Ellen had not previously been far from home and at 24 years of age, had little worldly experience. Arriving in New York, she recalls being quite afraid, having been warned of the 'White Slave trade' which was a threat to immigrant girls travelling alone. She was told not to trust anyone except travel agents who had the correct ribbon identification.
At the hotel where she was billeted, a Norwegian lady spoke to her. Ellen could not understand much of what was said. Later when she was settled, the lady came to her room offering to show her New York. However, Ellen had just washed her hair and since it was quite long and would take a while to dry, she declined. She never knew whether she had missed a great chance to see the famous city or had avoided a potential threat.
The next day the travel agent took her to the train. Her trip, almost all the way across America, was long and exciting--so big, so beautiful and so empty! She slept three nights on the train. To pass the time, Ellen studied the train schedule and memorized the stations on the way. Her excitement  increased as the train neared Idaho. When the train reached Pocatello, on April 10th, she knew this was the last station before Blackfoot, her destination.
Station stops were long enough to allow passengers to stretch their legs so Ellen got off the train and entered the station.
"There was Petrus," she recalled. "Oh! I was so surprised, I was so happy!"

5 comments:

  1. Travel was not so much of a joy for the regular folk in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my! What would have happened had she not disembarked at Pocatello?? This story would have had an extra chapter at least!

    The difference in the land must have been quite an experience for your grandmother. I notice the difference just between Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island so I can just imagine how different the west of the USA was from Sweden.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So much courage in facing the unknown. It must have been daunting and exciting is almost equal measures...

    ReplyDelete
  4. So lovely to read. Scary to think that woman might have had other plans than to show Ellen the city. Would you believe, I have ancestors from Sweden too! I want to say they were from Goteborg but not sure. Will have to ask.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Finally! It's so funny to think of how little people traveled back then and how much people travel now.

    ReplyDelete

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