Every now and then, I like to give you a glimpse of something I’m working on. I’ve been doing some family research on ancestry.com recently, and discovered one of my ancestor’s point of entry of immigration to the United States. I challenged myself to a short two-page writing prompt about Constantine Maximillian Ulrich (I know, right?). I hope you enjoy it!
Con gripped the rail of the ship’s bow as once again the waves of seasickness began to wash over him. The voyage had been rough on him, but they were to put into port that day. It was almost over.
The mood on the ship was festive that morning, as everyone was excited to be on land once again. But there was a sense of trepidation behind the excitement. Finally making it to shore– to America! –meant that it would be time for what came next. Getting to America was only half the battle. Making a life there would be a battle all by itself.
Another wave rolled over Con as he considered the future. He had very little to his name, but he could work hard, if he could find work. He had heard of farms “out West” though he had no idea how he would get there. First, he had to get into the country. Rumors had reached Bonn before he began his journey. Germans were being turned away.
Finally, the time came for him to go below-decks and gather his things. The bunk had been home for weeks, but soon he would be making his way in a new place with the promise of opportunity. He could hardly wait to get off the boat and get started.
The smells of the city nearly overwhelmed him as he stood in the line for immigration. His tension mounted with every step. What would he do if they sent him back. Germany was no longer home, the family estate long since parceled off to pay the many debtors that had come forward upon Baron Von Ulrich’s death.
“Name?” The immigration officer’s boredom oozed from the single syllable.
“Constantine Maximillian Ulrich.” Con made a snap decision to drop the “Von” from his name. He held his breath and hoped for the best.
The officer looked up at Con, suprised out of his boredom for once. Con’s full moniker was certainly impressive.
“That’s quite a mouthful, son.” Con nodded. “I wouldn’t go throwing that around too much, if I were you.” A final pen flourish, a stamp of approval, and the officer handed a sheaf of papers to Con. “Welcome to America.”