9 Dec 1913 Enroute to New York

It was the morning of 9 Dec 1913, that I finally embarked on a boat of the Hamburg-American Line and I arrived in New York on 23rd Dec. Just then the city was making ready for Christmas. I think it was that as much as anything that so stabbed me with homesickness and a regret even for the small town that I had said so stifled me and, incidentally, on the way over something occurred to me that probably gave me my first sense of personal gratitude to America and to Americans. An American saved my life on board ship. I was standing high up in the bow, foolishly during a raging storm. I was supporting myself I thought by grasping one of the ropes. All at once, I felt a heavy impact on my shoulders and a moment later a wave leaped over the bow so monumental and so ferocious that it would have swept me from my moorings quicker than it takes to tell. In an instant I would have been snuffed out, extinguished in the forgetful seas. The heavy impact that I felt was the hands of an American who had seen the wave coming and had immediately recognized my predicament and had as immediately acted. This small-great thing caused the latent gratitude I felt to rise up in me and in that I was I am no different from my fellow Italians and gratitude towards those that do a kindness we never forget. So as Christmases come and go I reflect on the memory of the kindness of a stranger who saved my life which I will remember always.

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