Coming to America 

My father Patrick Hobbs left Ireland in April, 1953 on the Holland America ship MS Maasdam. He arrived at New York and journeyed to Springfield, Mass. , where he set up an apartment on Dwight Street. He got a job as an electrician, sending his earnings back to Mom in Ireland.

Six months later in October, Mom packed up the three boys, who had been staying with Granny Hobbs at 47 North Great George's Street in Dublin, and left for Kingsbridge Station to board a train and proceed South to Cobh. When we got to Cobh, we stayed in a local hotel for the night. At four in the morning of October 8th, we got up to get a ferryboat to go out in the harbor to board the SS America, which had stopped to pick up passangers on its voyage from Bremerhaven to New York.  

                                                      October 1953 (Our Voyage to America)

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I will always remember being on the ferryboat in the fog and coming upon "rows and rows of lights" over the water. We boarded through an opening on "C" deck not far above the waterline.  

We were led to our tourist-class cabin (quite comfortable), settled in, and later went around the ship sightseeing. 

The second day out, we ran into a bad storm "Tropical Storm Hazel", which made me very seasick. I remember being on the promenade deck and looking at the huge waves, which were higher than the ship. I was sick for a day, not eating meals (except for scrambled eggs) and constantly visiting the bathroom. Monday, the weather got better, and I did too. Tuesday morning we got to New York Harbor. 

As we passed the Statue of Liberty on October 13, 1953, we all threw coins into the water for luck. 

The ship cruised up the Hudson River to pier 86, located just below the George Washington Bridge. After clearing customs late in the afternoon, we met my father, packed our bags into the car, and left for Springfield, Mass. We went by the Merritt Parkway and Route 5, and got into Springfield after midnight, and settled into the Dwight Street apartment Dad had set up for us. 

It would be five years and living in two more apartments (Calhoun St. and Clyde St.) before Dad could afford to buy the family house at 164 Littleton Street, Springfield, MA.

I want to thank Bjorn Larsson for sending me the US Lines Westbound timetable for March - December 1953,  to verify my information.
His website is http://www.timetableimages.com/maritime/index.htm

 

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Page last modified 3-March-2008.

 

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