1964 - 1967

This was my first plane trip.
There I was aboard this Pan American plane on the way to Boston! 
What do I remember from this unique moment? 
First, I enjoyed the flight, and when I first saw the ocean of lights as we arrived in Boston, it was exciting.
I remember wearing my nice dark Summer suit, and ... 
my first contact with real COLD weather! 
It actually hurt!
Then I remember going through customs, and having the officer ask me "Are you coming here to get married?" 
I have no idea what I said, but I must have said "Of course not!" 
Anyway, coming out of customs I walked into the terminal waiting to see a big loving smile from Stella,
but no one was there waitingfor me! No one, except my cousins Rodil from New Bedford.
A few minutes later avó, auntie Mary, and my Stelinha arrived.
The plane had actually arrived early.
Well, I got a big hug from auntie Mary and Avó, but a very nice "handshake" from "my sweetheart"!
An akward moment, but that's all it was, ... a moment!
I felt welcome from the first moment by everyone.
From December to May I shared a room with Mário Lima, their cousin,
who came to the US looking for a better future. 
For the first few weeks, while legalizing my papers to change my visa status from tourist to student,
I used to walk downtown to meet mom for lunch. 
She used to work for Amica Insurance Company.
I managed to go alone downtown to do Christmas Shopping on my own. mostly at the Outlet Company, 
and this first Christmas was both
a very happy and exciting time, as well as, a very sad time. 
Happy to be with my sweetheart, sad to be away from my family.

My first Christmas in America 
December 25, 1964

In January I started attending classes at Central High School. 
My school papers were sent to the Department of Education in Washington,
and they claimed that I had the "equivalent" of the 10th grade. While under the immigration you don't argue.
I enjoyed my classes at Central High. I had very good grades, and I even got very good grades in math (at Classical High),
something that had always been my "cross" in Portugal. 
I attended regular classes, except for an extra English class I was required to take.
The hardest part, of course,was English. Studying Milton, Shakespeare, and others was no picnic. 
But I survived, thanks largely to the excellent educational system I had undergone in Portugal.
(10th grade... what a joke!!!) 
I used to take two buses to go to school. Since my arrival we had plenty of opportunities to find out ... 
if what we felt for each other was "for real", and from the beginning we had no doubts. 
As a result, we started planning our future. During a ride by "lovers' lane" I proposed to her, and she accepted. 
It was a sweet moment.
We decided to get married in June.
I still had another obstacle to overcome, but this one was no problem! 
I had to have an official document from my parentsgranting me permission to get married. 
I was 19 years old, not yet a legal adult. In those days you were not a legal adult until you were 21 years old.
Plans were made and everything took place without major problems. 
These were fun months.
To this day I feel very lucky because I felt very much "at home" in this foreign country. 
We had quite a few fun friends, mostly Portuguese,
like Luis Moniz (studying here too), Humberto, and several others. 
I remember a very unique experience with Luis Moniz. 
We had been invited to go to a party. It had been snowing, and by the time Luis picked us up in his "Suzette"
(a very old Oldsmobile!) the windshield wipers were not working,
and crazy Luis was driving with the door open  because he could not see the road clearly. 
Fortunatelly, it was a very short ride and no one got hurt, but with him,...we were always laughing. Great friend! 
Well,  ... the great moment finally arrived. 
That day I slept at uncle Fred's house.
Everything went beautifully. It was a great day. 
We spent our honeymoon at Cape Cod.

Holy Rosary Church  - Fox Point  - Providence
June 26, 1965

Complete Wedding Page

My mother was the only one from my immediate
family able to attend the wedding.

This was our room in Stella's parents' house.
We lived there for two years, until Michelle was born.

After the honeymoon, I started working at Hasbro. I worked there for the following 5 summers. 
It was a factory, but it was more than anything else, a learning experience. I began as a floorboy, and after that
I did all sorts of work. People were nice, and they liked me a lot. I actually admired many of them who had 
been working there for many years, and loved their job. I liked it too, but because it was a means of getting somewhere else, a means of making some money. After completing another full year at Central High School,
I applied to Providence College and was accepted. During my first year in college I did not work. Stella continued working at Amica Insurance Company. She also had to take the bus to go and come from work.
We had fun , and I have nothing but good memories from those days.

Finally, our lives were about to change drastically. 
But the joy of having a child cannot be described in a few words. 
We were ecstatic!!!

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