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Emma and William Remember Packing


Emma and William Remember Packing (Transcript)

Interviewee: Emma and William Greiner
Date of Birth: December 30, 1913 and July 18, 1912
Date of Interview: March 3, 1991
Interviewer: Paul E. Sigrist, Jr.
Immigrated from Italy (on German and French Quotas) at Age 11 and 12 in 1925
Ellis Island Collection: EI-28

Greiner (What He Packed):
EMMA: Yes, yes. It was very disrupting, you know, to pack and break up your home.
Oh, we took, of course, our clothing and some pieces of like china that were very, very special. And maybe a blanket or two also that were real good wool, that we felt maybe we may not be able to get here in the United States.
WILLIAM: Of course, there was pressure to leave things there but they accommodated us kids. And I brought a lot of things that (he laughs) I now wonder why I was so attached, for instance, to greeting cards. They were very, very romantic in those days and they were through the years birthdays and so on. And a few toys. My tin soldiers. I don't remember whether I brought anything about my small railroad, um.
WILLIAM: Oh, yes, yes. And then I had, uh, what we called a "Magic Lantern." It was a... Projector.
Very, very primitive, (he laughs) compared to today's.

EMMA: And I was hoping he wouldn't bring those soldiers because when we played together at home, you see I was German and he was French, you know, and he would always decimate all my soldiers, kill them all off, so we had quite a different set in our lives...(she laughs)

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Did You Know?

Angel Island aerial cropped2

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US, leading to it sometimes being referred to as "The Ellis Island of the West". Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Access to the island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Ferry services are reduced during the winter. More...