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My grandmother’s American dream, from Naples to New York

Kidsday reporter Christopher Ruiz and his grandmother Rachel

Kidsday reporter Christopher Ruiz and his grandmother Rachel Frangella, who was born in Italy. Credit: Ruiz family

My wonderful grandma is named Rachel Frangella. She was born in Naples, Italy. She has seven brothers and sisters. She came to America when she was 22 years old. She had to save up a lot of money to make the trip, and it took a long time. She traveled on a ship called The Michelangelo, which took 11 days.

My grandma remembers going past the Statue of Liberty with tears streaming down her face. Everyone on the ship was waving and screaming with pure happiness. My grandma wanted to come to America for a better life with more opportunities. She learned to speak English from watching TV and from listening to people talk. My grandma was determined, and it took her only six months to learn.

Her first job was as a waitress in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She had to wait for five years to become a U.S. citizen. She took the test and passed. It was a memorable day. Her only regret was leaving behind family and friends.

My grandma is so happy she is living the American dream. Grandma says that America is the best country in the world and the land of the free and the home of the brave. My grandmother is very special to me.

Therese O’Loughlin’s fourth-grade class, Michael F. Stokes Elementary School, Levittown

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