Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I started my story telling you about my immigrant father coming to a new life and having to learn new things. I believe I could parallel C.s’ life and the determination he had to do much of the same thing. The course of C’s life made it easier for him because he only had himself to worry about.

Picking up on his life where the court made him wait until he was 17 years old to join the U.S. Navy, he reported to the chow line checking in to eat. When he saw all the food and all the different varieties he knew he was going to like the Navy.

At that time they had to buy their own uniforms. After completing this chore he immediately went to sea aboard a destroyer. He was still growing and he out grew his clothes in no time and was ordered to buy Dress Blues for the upcoming inspection. He didn’t have the money plus aboard ship did not have any to fit him so he had to stand inspection in “high water pants”.

This was before Pearl Harbor and he was out to sea. That made it possible for him to learn quite a bit about life he knew nothing about. He told me he was the youngest man aboard ship and the old salts took him under wings because they saw he was willing to work and learn at the same time. They taught him many things good and not so good.

In the navy individuals had always started at seamen and then worked their way up the ladder from seaman to first class then to the rank to Chief Petty Officer. This of course took many years to accomplish because they had to hold each rate so many years before they could apply for the next. Also to be appointed to each rank it took a recommendation from their superior officer.

The lower rank started at seaman to third class and C held this lower scale many times because he would accomplish one and switch to another. He was like a sponge to water soaking up learning everything he could about his job and everyone else’. He found out very soon different rates put you at different places on the ship for instance he wanted to be topside and not in the engine room. Being topside involved d kind of responsibility more appealing to him. Doing lines and keeping them in ship shape came as second nature. Now to you and I this doesn’t sound like much but coiling line and keeping it flat takes some doing. The lines on ships are thick in diameter and will lay flat when coiled so they will not tangle when they are needed. All this and more is in the Blue Jackets Manuel that each seaman receives when enlisting.

When Carl bought us the motor sailer and the line was too large and heavy for me to handle for tossing the line to the dock so he had to purchase nylon line that was strong and easy to handle because it wasn’t heavy like hemp line. When we were docking our sailboat in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, I stepped off the boat with the line in my hand and slipped when I jumped to the dock breaking my clavicle. Carl was yelling for me to drop the line, which I didn’t and the fall yanked my arm so hard my collar bone broke.

When we did finally dock and the boatyard people called a cab for us and he took me to the hospital where they separated us wanting us to explain more than once what happened. They wanted to make sure it was an accident. Because they said they had to report it to the police.

The clavicle does not heal together like other bones to this day all these years later I still have the bone sticking up. I was just finishing my two week vacation from my job working for Motorola that I couldn’t go back to work for another week because my arm was in a sling. My boss was not happy about that and kidded me about the tough way I am extending my vacation.

Carl was still in search of records of who he really is and my 3rd sisters’ husband loved to help people dig in their past and asked C if he could help. He made phone calls and by writing letters to various departments in Indiana because his birth certificate was issued at Fort Wayne. He was a big help and this picture shows him with some of the family he found (and my No.2 daughter!)

There is so much to say that the orphan boy I married turned out to have a family and then some. Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter


  1. That was quite interesting. Please tell us more. I came over from "Stick Horse Cowgirls" one of my favorite blogs. Nice to meet you.

  2. Hi Immigrant daughter, your husband certainly had a big job ahead of him, with finding out where he came and all the bits that go along with that journey. Kind regards, Anita.