Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sequel to Emily and Bill......July 4th

After my Dad died, click I went back to NYC. But I was able to do so with an Immigrant visa which, different from the Visitors visa I had previously, allowed me to work in the USA. To call the circumstances of how I got the visa unusual is an understatement. More further down...

In NYC the first job offered me was in the garment district at $1.00 an hour. That was the minimum wage at the time.

I didn't take it. Instead I opted for a job as a psuedo college student selling magazines in New jersey. It was a great experience and I met a talented group of hustlers who knew how to shake $$$$ from the suburbanites in NJ. I didn't last at this job because it was all a lie. I can fib OK but lying is beyond me.

But, let me tell you about the visa I was able to get in 1958.
I've told this tale many times......but it seems almost miraculous to me even today some 50+ years later. So if you've heard it, sorry!

After the funeral- mid June- my oldest sister and my mother were planning to go to NYC where my sister lived. By the beginning of July they had decided on a ship from Liverpool to Montreal leaving july 23rd.

I decided to go too.

On Friday July 4th we went down to Pier Head where the Cunard offices were to book the trip. While we were there paying for passage at White Star Line my sister had an idea. "Why don't you emigrate so you can work ashore?" she asked.
"No problem with me" I said. Since the American Consulate Office was right down the block from Cunard we toddled on down there. It was about noon. The massive double wooden doors were shut. No sign of activity. We pulled the bell chain and banged on the door. Nothing. Again we banged. After a while we heard the lock slide back and the door inched open a tad. A man with shirtsleeves rolled up and not wearing a tie asked what we wanted. My sister gave him a song and dance routine telling him the sad news that I'd just lost my dad and that my mum was going to NYC and I wanted a visa.

"Do you know what day it is?" he asked. Like dopes we said yes it's Friday and he laughed and said "It's July 4th", "An American Holiday" and "There's nobody here working to do it." Then the magic happened. He asked us in and after about 10 minutes of a private interview with me he got out a form and with a big roller type of lithograph stencil thingy he gave me a visa, all signed and fresh from the press.
Well we were over the moon. Usually in those days one would wait several months with it would take many trips(and long queues) and extensive documentation requirements to get a visa. You also had to have a sponsor or you had to have a job in the U.S. to go to and all kinds of official paperwork .

I skipped the lot, thanks to July 4th. I'm sure you can imagine how much I appreciate all the fireworks celebrating my visa anniversary every year! Thanks all of you......


get2eric said...

Written for my progeny.....

Emily said...

It's a great story. Must have been fate for you to come to America!