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Monday, October 11, 2010
Once in a while, I get a ‘six degrees’ experience when I volunteer. It’s happened a lot over the past several weeks. Someone comes up to the information desk at Ellis Island, or chats me up in Edison’s library, and tells me their dad or grandmother was there when the place was in operation… or maybe even they, themselves were there.
About a week later, a woman in her 60s came up to ask about the dormitory building. When she and her family emigrated from Scandinavia in 1949 by airplane, her father was diagnosed with tuberculosis and brought to the
Then there was an older woman who told me her father had been one of the Public Health Service physicians stationed at
While none of the Ellis Island visitors had much information of their own to share, I was tickled to talk with a gentleman at
Talking with these folks always reminds me how much I don’t know, and how many facets history ultimately has. As children, we tend to take what we learn as fact, when it’s often just one person’s perspective on what happened a long time ago. Talking with someone who might actually have lived it gives me the chance to learn more, and hopefully get confirmation on some of my standard tour dialogue. Yeah, I live a little in fear of having gotten it totally wrong, but after a while you just have to let that go.