It was a tough life for the Scottish Sharp family at the turn of the twentieth century. Coal miners, they were exempt from the World War I draft. Frank, the fourth of five sons, was the only one that went off to war. Luckily, he survived the trenches, only to return to poor job prospects and poorer wages. When most of the family sailed across the Atlantic in search of a better life, Frank stayed behind for a while... for a little too long, it so happened. A victim of the 1924 Immigration Act, he was barred from immigrating to the US until October, 1929. Three weeks after his quota number came up, the stock market crash occurred.Frank's story weaves through Detroit's rich history during the Great Depression, Prohibition, World War II, and the booming automotive industry starting in the 1950's and beyond. What Frank sacrifices to achieve material and career success takes its toll on his family and personal life. After all is said and done, this is the saga of a determined and ambitious man who was hell-bent on leaving his poverty-stricken past behind. Did he make the right choices? You decide.
Wendy Sura Thomson is a 5-star author of Summon the Tiger, The Third Order, The Man from Burnt Island, and Postcards from the Future (as a contributing author.) She has several more works underway. She lives in Michigan with her beloved Setters and covets sipping coffee outdoors first thing in the morning, rain or shine., listening to the waterfall and the birds and watching [often with amusement] the pups explore.
Leaving everything you know in search of a better life takes - including your wife and child - takes courage. It happens a lot now, but we have instant communication via cellphones and video chats. Back in the day everyone relied on the mail, which traveled via boat across the ocean. No television to get familiar with the culture, sights and sounds. No TikTok. Twitter or Facebook to be alerted to breaking news... just jumping off into the Great Mostly Unknown.
The Man from Burnt Island
The ship SS Athenia was moored along a dock in the middle of the port. Frank walked down the long dock and stopped at the gangway to show his ticket to the Cunard employee on duty. Ticket verified and passenger list completed, Frank walked up the gangway with his suitcase. He took a place on the railing, where he watched as other passengers approached and boarded. It didn’t take long until the entire railing was crowded with voyagers. The ship let out three blasts on its horn, and the last of the passengers scurried aboard. Three more blasts, and the gangway was removed. Dockhands unlashed the moorings and threw them up to waiting deckhands fore and aft. With one long horn blast, the ship left the dock. Frank was on his way.