A Journey by Boat – Friday Fictioneers

Here’s a biographical sketch of  my grandparents’ journey to America. I never got to meet them, but I am grateful for learning about them from my father while was he living. Although it saddens me to think that when I first posted this, he was still alive, I’m still happy we had the chance to share this story and that I heard it from his lips. I consider that a gift. My dad is Michael in the story.

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting the Fictioneers and to her husband, Jan Wayne Fields, for the wonderful photo.

PHOTO PROMPT- Copyright – Jan Wayne Fields

Genre: Biography

(105 words)

A Journey by Boat

Melchior, a carpenter, couldn’t have known his fate the day he walked into the church of St. Francis. He saw a smile in her eyes and heard his mother tongue of Swiss German once again. It was here that he met Elizabeth, a stranger in this foreign land, but a neighbor who had lived only twenty miles away in their native Switzerland. Six months later, in this same church, they married.

Their twelve children taught them English. Seven left to fight in the war.

At home by the fire, Melchior played the accordion with his youngest, Michael, while Blackie the dog howled at their feet.


For more 100-word stories, visit the Fictioneers linkup here.

58 thoughts on “A Journey by Boat – Friday Fictioneers

    1. These were the details I remembered and that one was particularly memorable. They came home from school and taught them. That’s still happening, of course. I just didn’t realize this was my dad’s experience, too. Thanks, Alicia.


  1. Some memories stick on years after. 🙂 I didn’t realize it was a biography at first, then saw the comments, and re-read it. You’ve written it elegantly. Makes me want to know more about him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Vinay. I’m glad I wrote it down, too. It’s something I will always have. I just wish I knew more. Thanks so much for the nice comments.


  2. What a great story. I’m glad you got to hear it from your father. My ancestors came to America in 1805 from southern Germany. I would have love to have heard some of their stories. Those were brave people.


    1. I feel lucky about that, Russell. I remember that when he told me I instantly wanted to write it all down so I didn’t forget. I thought it was so romantic that his parents grew up in the same town but didn’t know it and that they met and married over here. I bet they were brave people. It makes me wonder how many people know the stories of their ancestors.


    1. Thanks, Bjorn. My dad learned a bit of German, a few words here and there. Later, in his adult life, he took German classes. I thought that was pretty cool. I imagine immigrants do bond closer just due to circumstances. They probably understand community better than most. Thanks for the nice comments.


    1. Tracey, me too. I wish I knew more. I feel like have just a few fragments here and there. Now I want to make sure I hear my mom’s stories while I can. What a wonderfully, cuddly comment. I think I want to curl up in a ball now. Thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s wonderful that you know all these details of your grandparents’ lives together and of your father’s beginnings. You’ve given a beautiful snapshot of it here – one that speaks volumes about the value of strong family ties, and the experience of being an immigrant family. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, what a wonderful comment, Margaret. Glad you enjoyed my story. America certainly would not be what it is without all our immigrants.The strong family ties struck a chord with me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Amy,

    Such a touching and personal story. I’m glad you shared it again. There’s something about a personal history to make one feel connected to something greater than themselves. Well done.



    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well said, Rochelle. I couldn’t have said it better. I think it’s important to know your roots. These are things that are lost as people don’t live as close to their families. I think when before people might have heard stories, now we need to ask. I’m glad I did. Thank you.


  5. Twelve children…only seven left by the time the war began. Very sad. But I love the final vignette, with your dad and the poor dog howling at the accordion 😀


    1. Thanks, Jan. Seven went off to fight the war, which I think says a lot. My dad was the youngest of twelve. To this day, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around that. I see the dog howling and covering his ears. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a lovely snapshot of your family history, Amy. I’m glad that your dad was around to read it when you first published it. Did he share any follow-up with you about Blackie’s pain and suffering?


    1. Thanks, Virginia. I don’t know that he ever read it. I’m not sure he’s ever read anything I’ve written. Maybe now he has. I just know Blackie gave a good howling.


  7. Sorry I’m so late in responding, Amy. Tuesday is “catch my breath” day.

    What a sweet and heartfelt story! It makes it more poignant now that time has passed, of course. I’m sure, though, your dad was quite proud of his daughter and the talent she has for writing … but probably prouder that she turned out to be such a sweetie whom people like Rochelle and I and the rest of the FF authors really, TRULY appreciate. 😉 That’s the legacy right there.

    Five out of five melodicas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries. I’ve been out of town so this day has been my catch up day. Thank you, Kent. So happy you enjoyed it. History has that kind of sweetness when you can capture the memories you are fond of. I know they had some hard times, but they always seemed to have each other. In the end, that’s really the only thing that matters. Thanks so much for the kind words. I appreciate you, too!!


  8. It’s a lovely memoir, Amy. How fortunate you were your father told it. I loved stories my parents and grandmother told me about relatives and others from the past. That’s a great way to learn about your family. 🙂 — Suzanne


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