This is the ship that carried Debs Webster and his family to a new life, a new country, a new language, a new culture. They packed their trunks, said their goodbyes to their family, friends and homeland and set off on their new adventure.
What would life be like in America? There were many things to think about: new friends, new schools, new employment, new language. And how quickly would they master this new language? Debs could speak English. Actually, he could speak three languages – Portuguese, Spanish and English. Just one of the perks of being the son of the The Traveling Dentist. The rest of the family hadn’t set foot outside of Brazil, so Portuguese was what they knew. Ultimately, the children were able to master the English language, but it was more of a struggle for Debs’ wife and mother-in-law.
I remember my grandmother being able to understand English, but she was more comfortable speaking Portuguese. So guess what? I grew up hearing Portuguese spoken around me when we visited with my grandparents. It was great! Did I ever learn it? No. I really wish I had.
Were these emigrants scared, nervous, apprehensive or excited about their new adventure? Perhaps it was a mixture of all of these emotions.
Whether scared or not, the decision was made and they were on their way.
So, on July 7, 1952, Debs and Willis Webster and their three children (my mom included) boarded the ship The S.S. Brazil at the port in Santos, Brazil. Also joining them on their adventure was Willis’ 66-year old mother Helena. She decided to emigrate with them.
|The Webster Family on Board The S.S. Brazil July 1952|
The S.S. Brazil made two ports of call on it’s way to New York – Rio and Trinidad. This brochure from 1949 shows the S.S. Brazil's travel route.
In the next installment of this story, I will be sharing more vintage postcards and fun photos from these ports of call.
What about you? Have you ever moved far away? How did you feel? Were you scared, nervous, excited?
While doing research for this blog post I found some very interesting information about the S.S. Brazil. Did you know that in 1942 the S.S. Brazil became a United States Army Transport Ship (USAT)? After the war, it returned to “civilian life.” You can read about that and other facts here.
Thanks for reading!
Copyright © Jana Last 2012