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.
Some people have a knack for poor timing. This particular fact - immigration to the US on October 5, 1929 - is exactly what happened to my grandparents.
October 5, 1929, standing alone, means little. However, when put against the fact of the October 29, 1929 initial stock market crash which heralded the start of the years-long Great Depression, it is momentous.
The initial years of an immigrant arriving in the US are difficult enough in their own right. Add the Great Depression, and wow. Just wow. Timing at its worst.
The Man from Burnt Island
On October 5, 1929, Frank, Margaret, and Jack immigrated to the United States. The entire Sharp clan celebrated at Da and Bess Sharp’s house that night, and to liven the festivities, Frank had smuggled over a fifth of single malt.