The Color Purple From the Emerald Isle

Journal 8-7-1904

We’re off the boat, finally. But now we stand, in this long, never-ending line of different accents. Everyone here is different. There is a constant chatter all over. I’ve given up on trying to listen in on conversations, because if I do, I’m lost. There are many of my own origin, Irish. I can see my story in there eyes. There are many others though. So when I do try to listen to conversations, I can’t understand, because most of the time it’s a different language. It’s confusing and overwhelming, like being caged with animals at the zoo. I wonder what they are mumbling. I’ve spoken very few words. I’m completely exhausted, dying of thirst, and starving. There’s no food. I haven’t eaten since yesterday. There’s also a strange, overpowering stench that smells like a combination of…dusty, musty coats, body odor, wet wool, spices, and ocean water. It disgusts me greatly. I can’t move from this spot. I’ve been standing here for hours and hours. My suitcase is weighing me down, no matter how many times I switch hands, its still making my arm cramp up. I can’t set it down either; I might lose all my valuables. I mean, who knows if there are any criminals around here? If I move, except for moving forward, I lose my spot in the line, and I have to go to the back of the line, which is nearly impossible to see. What I can almost see is the front of the line. The table with the bored-looking man with lists of names. This could be awhile. I can tell I’m getting hungrier, I can’t stop reminiscing about Mother’s stew, a family tradition; steak, potatoes, carrots, and onions. Mother always made it to perfection. I nearly groan just thinking about that delicious stew…Can I get some food around here?

…about an hour and a half passes…


Finally, there is only a couple standing between me and that man, table, and lists. I can make it. There is a confused look between the man and his wife after the man at the table had spoken edgy words to them, then they spat a few phrases back, and he wrote something down. Without looking up at them, he waved them through, and I stepped forward. This is an exciting moment in my life. I’ve been anticipating this since I put my foot on that boat said goodbye to my home. “Name?” he says,
“Francis Hershel O’Deny”
He looked up, and, staring at me with his lifeless eyes, he commands, in a slightly irritated voice,
” You must change your last name, it is too common.”
I stood there in awe, a confused look on my face, with my mouth in the shape of an O, and said,
“What’s there to choose?”
He rolled his eyes and sighed,
“Sir, I do not have all day to help you think of a new last name. All I can say is, it needs to not be so common. We can’t have mix-ups with mail and such. Understand me?” he nearly yelled, as if I was deaf.
It took me about two seconds and I just blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
“Purple. Francis Hershel Purple.”
“Like the color Purple?”
“Yes. Exactly.”
He mumbled something under his breath, probably rude, and scribbled on the paper. Then, with a flick of the wrist, he waved me through. The weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
Fresh air, at last!
I made it!





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