The Brahms's Adventures

by Annika Brahms

Where We Started

My name is Annika Brahms. I have two brothers, Benedickt and Steffen. Steffen is the small one I'm holding, he's 4 and Benedickt is 10. My mutter and vater (mother and father) owned a farm in Pernek. But when our country started to put pressure on people like us, vater decided it was best to move. As well as the pressure from the government, our farm had been dry for the past couple of years.

The Trip Across the Atlantic

The poster was a lie. It said we would be separate from the luggage. We spent four and a half weeks on that boat. We thankfully never have to do it again. What made it worse was Benedickt was sick almost the whole trip. I was only sick for about the first week. Mutter and vater didn't get sick at all. Poor Steffen was confused. He didn't understand why we were leaving home.

Our Arrival In New York City

New York City is huge! There are so many people! They all speak in different languages. We arrive on September 30, 1875. We were taken off the boat. Vater carried our luggage. Mutter carried some other luggage and held onto Benedickt's hand. I carried Steffen and held Benedickt's other hand. We stayed together. But the crowd was terrible. People were yelling and screaming because they thought they'd lost luggage or a kid. The people in uniforms swore at us for not moving fast enough. Our family was thankfully okay. None of us were sick and we were allowed into the country. The family behind us was broken up. Their mutter was sick and had been taken away. The kids were crying and the vater was not happy. We did run into people telling us to go home and that we are not wanted. They stood outside the docks when we came from Ellis Island. However most people, excluding them, are very nice.

Our New Home

The apartment is very crowded with twenty people living in it. There are two bedrooms. Mutter, vater, Steffen, Benedickt and I sleep in the living room. The Abts sleep in one of the bedrooms and the Hummels sleep in the other. For the most part we aren't all in the apartment at the same time until supper or after supper. I don't like the apartment. It is smelly and stuffy and crowded. However I don't complain. It was cheep and we are free from the prosecutions going on in Germany.

Our Jobs

Vater and Benedickt work at the Kinsley Shoe Factory. Mutter and myself work at the Johnson Textile Factory. Steffen is too little to work. The factories are loud. The machines make a lot of noise. If we don't work fast enough, we get whipped. We get payed by the amount of clothes we make. We get 5 cents a dress.

Johnson Textile Factory Labor Union

Mutter and my factory created a union three years ago. We joined just a couple months ago, but what happens still effects us. The agreement made three years ago expired last year. They have still not made a new contract. This lead to us going on strike. We striked for three weeks. A few days ago, our bosses and our union agreed on a new contract. Nothing violent happened during our strike. Although just down the street, one of the other factories had a strike which lead to some serious issues and several wounded workers.

The Brooklyn Bridge

We have moved to New York during a great time to see the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. To see the construction takes a bit of a walk but it is worth it. Gilbert Abt works on the bridge. He says it is scary. You can't look down when you are up on the platform working and people get hurt. When it is done it will be the largest bridge.
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School is not fun. We have to speak in English and if we mutter a word in German we get whipped. We only go twice a week thankfully. We have to be polite and proper. We learn to read and write. They teach how to be American. However mutter says we have to go because it is free.

What We Do For Fun

Mostly we will play in the street with the other kids. We have to watch the Hummel or Abt kids if we bring them outside with us. When I have time to myself I read. The landlord has a collection of books in German that I read occasionally. Benedickt has a flute he brought from Germany. He plays it for us.

Magazines and Ads

We see ads all over. There are ads in the magazines, there are ads in windows of shops, people shove papers in your face when you are walking. It's how we all found are jobs. We saw fliers in the window of a shop down the street.
Brenna Whitney

US History A B

10 December 2014