Sunday, March 9, 2008

Significant Date #2

So, three weeks after I had returned to England for my Dad's funeral,I went with my Mum and sister to Liverpool to book passage back to the U.S. It was on a Friday morning that we took the steam engine out of Runcorn for the 20 minute trip. Brief stops were made at Ditton Junction, Allerton, where Paul graduated from Grammar School that year, and Edge Hill before it arrived at the terminus at Liverpool's Lime Street station. We bypassed several small towns such as Wavertree, Mossley Hill and Sefton Park.

Lime Street was a huge station with the roof a hundred feet high made of glass. The high ceiling was to accomodate the noxious fumes from the coal burning steam engines. We walked the 1/2 mile or so on Dale Street and Water Street to Pier Head where there are 3 large buildings. They are known as the 'Three Graces'

The one at the left with the clock and dome with a bird on it is the Royal Liver. The centre one is the Cunard and the one on the right is the Port of Liverpool building.

I liked visiting the Cunard Building because of the many large models of ships throughout the lobby area and I had walked into the lobby several times in earlier years just to see them. Liverpool was a place we visited often in my childhood. Mum would go there with me in hand for a day out or to go shopping at Lewis's. Or you could take a ferry from Pier Head across the Mersey to New Brighton, which as the name implies was a seaside resort town.
New Brighton It is actually in Cheshire on the Wirral

Anyway, we made reservations on the Corinthia sailing on the 23July two and a half weeks ahead. It would be a terrific sailing because the ship would be going down the St Lawrence River past Quebec all the way to Montreal. ( an overnight train ride to NYC would complete the journey ). The Cunarders asked to see our visas for the entry into America and it prompted my sister, who already had a 'permanent' visa to ask me what I thought about applying for a resident visa since we were right next door to the American Consulate. "Why not" said I. So off we went to the Port of Liverpool building and found the door to the American office closed. We banged on the door and waited. After a few more bell pushes and door bangs the lock slide scraped and the door opened a crack. "What do you want?" said a guy in shirt sleeves and no tie. My sister, who at 38 years old was one good looking blonde charmer, told him the sad tail about my father's passing away and this is his mother and she is upset and CAN HE GET A PERMANENT VISA TO AMERICA???

"Do you know what day it is Madam" asked the gentleman. "Sure, it's Friday" she said. We all agreed it was Friday.
" Well it also happens to be July 4th, Miss, which in America is a Holiday" All our empoyees have the day off, there's no-one here but me he said but since I am the Consul I suppose I can do it. He let us in and took me into his office where he asked a few questions like did I belong to the Communist Party and was I a subversive and had I been vaccinated. " and Yes" I said and he said "Very well, that's good you're in". He right there 'rolled' out a visa for me in my passport and that was it. I was to become an immigrant. And what usually took months of paperwork and visits to Liverpool all the other officious nonsense was bypassed in 1/2 and hour on July 4th 1958......another significant date.

It turned out he didn't really know what he was doing because the Immigrations officials processing the paperwork as we docked in Montreal were not happy. They apparently had a little work to do to make my immigrant status correct. But other than that it was OK.


Jennifer said...

Oops, that comment was by me. I don't think Anna knows much about blogger yet!

Jennifer said...

Oh, I tried to leave a comment but was accidentally logged in as Anna. What I said:

Man, that was lucky. I'm glad it all worked out. I can't wait for the next installment.

It would be great if you could put all these stories under a category in your sidebar, with links in chronological order. I can show you how to do that next time we are together.

Emily said...

Glad they let you in even though the Consul messed up the paperwork!

paula said...

I love it when you write about stuff like this, I never get to hear about it anymore ... XXX

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