Left on Ellis Island - My Family Travels

‘Sabrina, it’s 12:20! We have to be back,’ my best friend Mikayla told me, after glancing at her watch.

‘Oh yeah,’ I said. ‘Wait. Let me buy this Ellis Island address book for my mom.’

‘Hurry up!’ After purchasing the book, we raced out of the gift shop to where Mrs. Carstensen and our tour guide, Cheryl, were. We weren’t the only ones that had forgotten the time. After a quick look-over of the kids, we walked down to the docks. Once onboard, Mrs. C counted heads.

‘I only count 25,’ she said. Before she could say, ‘Who’s missing?’, I yelled, ‘MY DAD!!!’ He wasn’t on the boat! Shocked, my heart was racing, why wasn’t he here? Mrs. C sent her husband to find him. Where could he be? As Mr. C raced up to the building, he saw my dad walking out. YAY! my heart yelped. They sprinted down the pavement to the boat. The two men were just racing onto the dock when the conductor pulled up the plank and roped off the entrance. ‘Wait, wait! Those two need to get on board!’ we shouted and hollered at the conductor.

‘Sorry, but we’re leaving.’ No!!!! I wanted to scream! I can’t leave without dad! Cheryl yelled out instructions to the two men, ‘We’re going to Ground Zero. Take a cab and meet us there.’ We were pulling away from the dock and Ellis Island and leaving — without my dad! By then I had lost it. Yes, my dad was fine and I would see him soon, but I was scared — for I knew my dad.

He normally gets worked up and hyperventilates under frightening, stressful situations. What if he gets stuck on Ellis Island? Or what if he gets lost in New York and never finds us? Or what if he misses our flight and gets stuck in New York?! What if, What if — I want my Dad!!! I was to the point of tears with all these thoughts and worries rushing through my head. My friend Mark comforted me and let me cry on his shoulder.

I felt embarrassed, but I didn’t care, but none of my friends’ words helped until I realized that my dad wasn’t alone. Mr. C is with him! He’ll be able to calm him down and he’ll know what to do. Relief swept over me as the tears slowly stopped dripping down my face. After the ferry and subway rides, we had arrived.

‘Here’s our stop. Everybody off!’ Cheryl said loudly to make sure that everyone heard. We didn’t want to leave anyone else behind! As we approached Ground Zero, we found fencing around the area. Ground Zero was cleared of debris, and construction was already under way.

Along one side of the fence was a memorial of 9/11. Pictures of before, during and after were posted along with descriptions. Many people were staring up at the fence. Mouths were wide open, just staring and reading in shock. Other faces were streaming with tears, remembering that day or of a loved one. We walked slowly, at our own pace, with expressions like those around us.

It was emotional and painful to look at the site and pictures, but in the back of my mind, my thoughts were still focused on my dad. Thoughts like, Where is my Dad? Shouldn’t he be here by now?! were mixed with, How could anyone do such a terrible thing? I can’t believe that there is a gaping hole in the middle of New York, where two tall buildings once stood. But I continued my walk down the sidewalk.

After taking it all in, we gathered together in a group. Cheryl talked about Ground Zero and 9/11, where she was personally that day, and how different it is to walk down the street and not see the buildings. Then, she took us down to the subway station that was underneath the towers. Down there, we got a call on Mrs. C’s cell phone, ‘We’re here, where are you?’ FINALLY! I could hardly wait to see my dad! I hoped that he hadn’t fallen apart through the whole ordeal. Waiting impatiently, I finally saw them coming down the steps. ‘DAD!’ I raced toward him and gave him a huge hug.

I walked back to the group with them, only to find the two laughing about it all. ‘We got to take a cab ride in New York City and you didn’t!’ my dad joked, enjoying the fun. What?!? ‘You mean you weren’t worried and scared about missing the ferry?!?’ I asked, completely shocked. ‘Nah. We caught the next ferry and took a cab. It was fun.’ All this worrying about my dad and he didn’t even worry? They laughed and joked the whole time? I was shocked! Here I was, getting upset about something, when I’m normally the calm one. How ironic.

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