The Statue of Liberty is usually the first image conjured by thoughts of immigrants arriving in America in the late 1800s and the first half of the 20th Century. This first iconic glimpse experienced by so many has been recounted in books and films myriad times and yet it never gets old. I suppose that is because so many people's families began their new life in just that way - with an uncertain boat journey from some torn corner of the world. So many hopes, dreams, expectations...fears. The scene in the Godfather II of Vito Corleone and hundreds of other people crammed on the deck of a rusty ship always leaps to my mind. All those faces, all different and yet all the same. What must each of them have been thinking? The film can not have been that far from the reality.
While Papou was working away in some New York diner, after his imposed U.S. Navy service had ended, Yia Yia and my uncle Manoual, who was then eight years old, were setting out from Piraeus for America on an old ocean liner. I have tried to determine which ship they might have come over on but there are so many going in and out of service or to the scrap yards at this time that it is too difficult to pin point. The name of the ship is not so important as the journey itself.