How We Came To Canada
This is my story about when I immigrated to Canada. I was only 15 years old when we left Holland in May, 1952. There was only mom, dad, and us 6 girls. We were on the boat for 9 days. Mom was really sick most of the time, the rest of us were sick off and on. My dad however, never got sick at all.
While on the boat there was a bad storm. Some people got hurt as the boat rocked back and forth. We all had to stay in our cabins. After too many days, we finally docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Pier 21. Then we went by train to get to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg a farmer, our sponsor picked us up.
We had to stay with the farmer for a year before we could move. When we got in his truck, mom and dad sat in the front with my youngest sister. The rest of us girls got to sit in the back. The trip was about thirty minutes, maybe a little bit more to the town of St. Eaustage. Then he brought us to our house. It was no more than a cabin, 3 bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. There was a stove in the kitchen.
It was very cold in the winter, there was no water. We had to get water from town for drinking and water from the river for washing. In the winter my mom melted snow for baths and washing hair. My mom was very sad as she left her mom and dad and the rest of her family behind in Holland.
Us four girls and our dad worked in the sugar beet fields. We also had to pick cucumbers. This was very hard on our hands and arms because they were so prickly.
We were 17, 16, 15, and 14 years old, my other two sisters were 11 and 4. The youngest went to school. Later on we moved to Portage La Prairie where my first brother was born. We lived there for 1 1/2 years,
Then we moved to Winnipeg as we girls did not want to work in the fields any more. In Winnipeg we rented a nice warm house. We sure enjoyed the new house. The four older girls got a job at the hospital. My dad went to work in construction. Things were getting better. Later my parents had another boy.
Now altogether we had 6 girls, and 2 boys. Its now been many years and my mom and dad have passed on as well as one of my brothers. It has now been 55 years has since we last lived in Holland. I can’t even remember much from Holland but I loved the new Canada.
Johanna Laurina DeWitt (Moerman)