This story is based on the life of my wonderful grandmother, and amazing grandfather. May he rest...
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“Mama! Look! Isn’t she beautiful?” Rhiny exclaimed. Along the horizon, they could see the beautiful statue of the woman symbolizing freedom for her country, and its citizens. She stood erect, her head held high and proud. Lady Liberty.
The sun glinted off the ocean surrounding the island on which she stood. The view was breath-taking. Only a few hundred feet and they would be on free land. All the people on board knew it. It felt like every person on the ship had stopped blinking, and breathing, as though if they took their eyes off of the statue of liberty for one second, she would disappear under the waves. Or if they let out a single breath, she might blow away in the breeze.
“She is, darling.” Betty whispered in awe. “She is even more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.”
“RUF FAMILY” was scrawled across the handmade sign a man was holding.
“Mama? Do we get to see papa now?” Fransiska asked anxiously.
“See that family up there?” Betty asked pointing up ahead toward the man and his family holding the sign with their name written in black, bold, letters. “Grandma, you, your brother, and I are going to wait with them and Papa will meet us there.”
“Why do we have to wait with them?” Fransiska asked.
“Because they are our sponsor family. It’s because of them that we are able to be here in America,” Betty informed her daughter.
“Oh!” with that she raced over to their sponsor family and gave the man a big hug.
“Oh my! I am so sorry.” Betty yelled as she raced to join her daughter, Rhiny and Grandma trailing along behind.
“It’s fine. You must be the Ruf family.”
“Yes, well, almost, we’re just waiting for my husband to join us.”
“Oh, okay. I’m Jacob by the way,” the man, Jacob, told Betty.
Pushing through the crowd came a tall man, with close cropped midnight black hair.
“Betty! Rhiny! Fransiska!” the man called.
“PAPA!” Fransiska raced up and flung her tiny, little arms around her father.
“Hello dear. How do you like America?”
“Great! But I didn’t like the big boat we had to ride on for a billion days.”
“Yeah, it was kind of a long ride,” he agreed.
“Yeah! And I don’t like fake milk!” Her father laughed and ruffled Fransiska’s hair.
“Welcome to your new home!” Jacob announced, opening a door leading into the small one story home.
“Thank you again so much for letting us stay with you for a while, until we get a place of our own,” Betty said
“You’re welcome. After our son went on his mission to Switzerland, we felt it was our duty to help anyone there we could.”
“Well, thank you.”
The Ruf family stayed at their sponsors home for only a few months. Both the mother and father were able to earn enough money to buy a tiny little home in Utah. They wanted to be near the mountains and snow like their homeland, Switzerland. The Ruf family was always very poor. In moving to America, they hoped they would be able to start a new life, and become a bit wealthier so they could finally get their children birthday presents, a warm bed, and a roof above their heads. They were off to a pretty good start.
“Reinhardt! Fransiska!” Betty called down the hall to her children.
“Coming!” they answered back.
“Would you like to tell them?” Betty asked her husband. “Or shall I?”
“You can my dear.” He was grinning from ear to ear.
“Tell us what?” Rhiny asked impatiently. A thin smile appeared across Betty’s face, her deep, dark blue eyes were sparkling with joy.
“You two are going to have a new baby sibling!” she announced, practically bursting with excitement. She was giddy all over.
“Yay!” Fransiska yelled as she skipped around the room
“Is it going to be a boy or a girl?” Rhiny asked, then, quietly whispering to himself, he added, “Please be a boy! Please be a boy!”
“We’ll find out in a few months,” was all Betty said in response.
A few months later Betty gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Everyone was ecstatic (Even Rhiny). They decided to name her Betty Jewel, after her two grandmothers. She had light blue eyes that shone like tiny stars, like her father, and tufts of dark brown hair like her mom.
Over the next twelve years, the family grew and flourished.