Sailing Day

Sailing Day

A Story by BlueEyedCubTN

Part of the middle of something I am working on about immigration in the early part of the 1900s.


The excitement in the air was like electricity on departure day. The smell of coal smoke fills the air. The sounds! Oh! The Sounds! Horse hooves on cobblestone, steam whistles and bouy bells. Seagulls and splashing water. The voices of families accompanying their loved ones bidding farewell. The hustle and bustle of the passengers preparing for departure. I have dreamed of this day for a long time. Times have been difficult for entirely too long. This is the change that needed to come in order for me to keep my sanity. Life was about to change in a very drastic way.


Stepping back from the madness, I realize that I don't know where to go or what to do. The confusion is maddening. I see three gangways. Which to go to? On the first, I see well-dressed ladies with big hats. There are immaculately groomed dogs and men with fine suits and silken ties. I want one of those hats. This is not the gangway for me, this much is for sure. The farthest gangway has the loudest group of people. The largest group of people. Their clothing looks much more worn than the rich folk boarding the ship. At the bottom of the gangway, they are checking people for fleas and disease. Yes, this is the group of people I need to follow. I have to fight my way through the crowd with the one bag that I have with me. It contains all of the clothes I own, and a few sentimental items that will remind me of home. I stopped for a moment and looked behind me toward the bow of the ship. She seems so pristine, with new paint, and her name shines brightly in the sunshine. Adriatic. Her two funnels towered overhead. Even taller than the funnels were four masts. She was decked out in flags like it was her maiden voyage. This is going to be an adventure to remember.

I was stopped at the beginning of the gangway by the inspectors. They poked and prodded...combed through my hair, but I am clean. I even had a bath before I left Killeigh. I know I will miss my brother and sister. I think I will miss mom and dad too, but I missed them before since they were often not home. Maybe I will get a taste of what dad experiences while I am at sea. I will miss my job at the carriage workshop, but I am excited to see what I might find for work in the Land of the Free. I am nervous, and excited at the same time. I take a deep breath and step aboard. From here, the world changes.

"Tickets! Have your boarding passes ready!" bellowed a gentleman in a dark coat with shiny gold buttons. I reached into my coat pocket to retrieve my boarding pass. I showed the man with the shiny buttons.

"Good morning Mr. O'Reily. Steerage class. Through this door, turn right, down one deck and head aft."

Once aboard, I come to face a different type of madness. People of all nations are gathering in the entrance areas, speaking languages I don't understand. Children are screaming, wives are loudly upset with husbands. Many are crying, knowing they will most likely never see their families again. It pains me to see these people, because I just left everything I've ever known. However, I've always had a sense of adventure and this will be the greatest adventure yet. I have my room number. I need to go down another deck. I am sharing a room with two other men. Neither speak in a language I understand. I believe one is Polish, and the other...Russian? I am not sure. There are two bunks, and a bed off to the side. I choose the bed to the side. These gentlemen seem like nice people, I think. I will not leave anything of value in this room while I am not in it.

I decide it is time to explore. I pushed my way past the people in the corridors and toward what I thought would make my way forward. I think I am headed forward. There are some stairs. Let's go up. Where am I? I hear music to the left. I must be near a lounge. I might be in a part of the ship I shouldn't be in. I head back down and decide to explore the deck my 'stateroom' is in first. Now I hear a different kind of music. This is music I know. There's a drum, and a pipe. I hear a fiddle. Now I hear laughter. Here is how we will deal with the frustration of leaving the homes we love. We will laugh, drink and dance the nights away! I will come back to the party after I finish exploring. I found another set of stairs, these should lead to an area where I would be welcome. I slowly climbed up to a door with a round window in it. It leads to the deck at the rear of the ship. There were many of my kind of people gathered here. I moved to the railing and looked out over the sea. It is so blue, deeper than the sky. The sky, it goes on forever, farther than the sea. Here and there is a white puffy cloud to contrast with the blue that I am surrounded with. WHAAAAHHHHH!!! I jumped. My heart raced. Adriatic's whistles sound as she announces her departure. The crowds of people begin to cheer. There are people on the dockside waving to the passengers. There are travellers waiving to the people below. It is the celebration of a beginning...

© 2015 BlueEyedCubTN

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Added on December 25, 2012
Last Updated on April 17, 2015
Tags: Immigrant, Irish, ship, sailing, beginning



Phoenix, AZ

I live in Phoenix, AZ. I love photography and writing. I often get inspired by the smallest things. Film is very interesting to me. I love sci-fi, historical dramas, and epic adventures. My mind is al.. more..