Around 1911, Grandpa told my dad and his brother to save their money because they were going to America. Grandpa’s name was Krist, and his boys were Tom and Tanas. He would return for their mother later.
There were rumors of war running throughout Europe. It was common to conscript lads as young as 12 into the military. Grandpa feared for the safety of his boys and felt that starting a new life in America would save them from almost certain death in the war.
They waited to receive information on the next date and port of departure. The name of the ship was not important to them—they were going to America!
They left Macedonia for Cherbourg, France, by train in April 1912. Upon their arrival in Cherbourg, the White Star Line agent looked at the tickets and said he knew people who were willing to pay a good price for them. Grandpa agreed to sell the tickets. They could take another ship sailing the following day.
Later, when they arrived at Ellis Island, they were puzzled at what they saw—people were crying. Were some being deported? Were some sorry they’d come?
At last Grandpa and his sons learned that their original ship had hit an iceberg and sunk. Many people died. Of course, we now know it was the Titanic.
The people who’d purchased Grandpa’s tickets probably felt very lucky to get them so close to departure. Lucky? The tickets were for steerage class. Nobody knows if they survived.