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I traveled over the blue broad ocean in the cold days of the winter,
My wife and children in tow.
Our aspiration was to find a better life away from the violence of our home.
We came upon the Lady of New York, and from there journeyed west
To lands covered in a sheet of white snow.
I soon found my trade in the dismal steel mill
Working long hours all through the day.
For awhile, money was plenty as was the spirit of this new freedom
Away from the adversary of political distress.
Soon my Josephina, as young as she was, caught black lung and fell to the confines of our bed.
I picked up more work when I could, always acting my best.
Jones and Laughlin soon became my second home,
But no matter the number of extra hours I milled, the money never seemed to go as far as I might have hoped,
Yet still, I kept my head high.
I lived by the advice of my Mutter and Vater,
Masking my struggle with strength.
Even when my Josephina left,
I hid it all away.
I sent my boys off to the world one by one,
Leaving me all alone.
I married once more to a woman named Anna with a harsh authority.
Bad company as she was, she cooked and cleaned each day and did as she was asked.
Widowed as I, I looked past the bitter resentment and sharp tongue,
Never minding her cold exterior.
After thirty years working the mill, thirty years of traveling to the slaughter,
I was given the old heave-hoe.
The younger herd had closed me out of the only work I had known.
Reduced to nothing but a tired old man, I found solace in my correspondence.
Once a week I sat me down and read of the life that dragged me from my home.
Letters of a vast, grand place, this Indiana he had found.
I left the land of my fathers,
I shunned the tongue of my blood.
I did it all for the future of mine;
In the end it got me as far as back to the arms of my Josephina.
If there must be pain to be felt, let it be felt by me;
If there must be hardships, let them be mine, that my children may have peace.