A Modern Fairy Tale by Marjorie Lyon
My story is a Modern Fairy Tale. It happened right here in Boston when the First Displaced Persons ship arrived. The Red Cross Personnel were there to meet and feed them. Docks are usually cold and dull – but not this one!
From the moment the flag-decked “Gail Bundy” reached Commonwealth Pier at 7:30 AM all was turmoil, color and excitement! Speeches of welcome filled the air, the Band played, and the relatives alternately waved and shouted and sometimes fell off precarious chairs. We Red Cross Workers hustled to get the Canteen set up – then we waited and gazed. Finally the Orphans brought over by the American Committee were allowed ashore, and we fed them. Such a nice lot of kids they were too – no snatching of cookies, just politeness and smiles.
Then about 1:30, the rest of the 808 began to arrive, and such thrills and excitement and reunions! There were men who pounded each other on the back and kissed and cried. There was a woman who simply soared over a pile of suitcases into her husband’s arms, and the old lady who kissed the little pigtailed girl maybe 50 times, and the bobbed old world curtsies of the little girls to thank us for the milk and chocolate.
There was an old man who was taking a large group to Mississippi – workers who were going to build their own houses and farm the land. Then there was a family bound for Wisconsin who wanted to know what their new home was like, and fortunately one of the Red Cross workers had been to that very town. And the sweet little family going to Putnam Connecticut who would be an addition to any community.
They were people of different tongues, countries, and religions – but they had in common the loss of everything that had been theirs and their joy at reaching America! As they filed past us, a small girl in one of the last groups seemed to typify and glorify all the others. She had golden hair and blue eyes and a big blue hair ribbon – tired she must have been (we all were) but on her face there was a smile of such pride and trust as she gazed at a little American flag held high in her hand – the flag of her new Country!