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Ellis Island
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On my mother's side my family has been on American soil since the founding of the colonies; on my father's side, they were Swedish immigrants, my great-grandparents coming to America the last decade of the 19th century.

Ellis Island has echoed down the years to those of us whose grandparents and great-grandparents came through Ellis Island and whose first real look at America centered on the Statue of Liberty. My great-grandparents would tell how exciting that was and how overwhelmed they were (straight off the farm, 16 years old and newly married) by the noise and confusion and many questions. And how the first night on American soil they whispered to each other in the dark how it was going to be one day.

By the time my great-grandfather was in his 30's, he owned his own home and had major investments in the stock market. His son was ashamed of being a first-generation American and changed his name to a generic "American" one. Then the stock market crashed....

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