Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
March 29, 1989     Hells Canyon Journal
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March 29, 1989

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Hells Canyon Journal, March 29, 1989 Page 7 By Sybyl Smith Inez Curtis relates with humor and candor her unusu- al adventure in leaving Portu- gal and entering the United States in 19J~9. "Most people think I am a native of the United States, but I was born on the island of Terceira of the Azores Islands, which are nine small Portugese Islands off the coast of Portugal. "My mother and eight of us children moved to the United States in 1949, when I was seven. My father had arrived in the States a year earlier, to get a job and a house for us. "I was the youngest of eleven children. My parents, John and Delfina Cardoza, had lived here many years ago; and my two older sisters and my older brother, John Cardoza, were born in the United States and were still living here. "Mother brought along a sack of oranges; and, with none of us able to speak a word of English, we left Terceira by ship and sailed to an island where we spent a few days waiting for another ship, which never arrived. Our schedule had been pre-arranged by my brother John; and in order to catch our plane, we had to take a fishing boat to the next island in the middle of the night. "R was a scary experi- ence, because a terrible storm came up, and the boat was very crowded, with our family and another family aboard, besides the fishing crew. The waves were high and black, and the boat would rock from one side to the other. All eight of us children huddled around my mother, who was crying, while we all watched our oranges floating around in a foot of water in the bottom of the boat. Two of my brothers went out with a fisherman to check on the storm and only one came back. This further frightened my mother, and we all started to cry. She sent another brother out; but then they both came back. He had tripped and fallen but was all right. "By morning the sea had cairned and we arrived at the island of Santa Maria, where there was a large airport, and everything was fine. Then; somehow, my mother and an older sister and I got separated from the rest of the family. We were petri- fied, and we almost missed our plane. How could my mother lose six children ages nine to sixteen, so easily? We looked desperately all over the airport. It was another traumatic experi- ence. "Finally we all got togeth- er, boarded our plane, and flew to New York City. None of us had ever flown before or ridden in a car; so the trip by air, plus the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel, were something to remember. "Staying in the hotel was another experience. We had arrived in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, and all the Christmas decorations were on display. We had never seen Christmas decqr- ations or electricity or snow or trains or toilets that flushed. Or nice beds. Where we lived, the mat- tresses were filled with corn husks or feathers and were lumpy. "Every time I heard a train whistle, I would jump up and look out the window at the train and the pretty Christmas lights gleaming in the snow. Every time I thought about it, I would go into the bathroom and flush the toilet. Riding in the elevator scared me, as the elevator operator was dressed all in white, and I thought he was some kind of robot. "We hadn't ordered any breakfast--didn't know how-- but when we got down to the dining room, there was a table set for us with good table service and every kind of delicious breakfast you could think of. It was a feast: fruit, cereal, hot cakes, toast, eggs, biscuits, meat, milk, and coffee. My brother John knew we couldn't or- der, so he had ordered all of this for us. It was wonderful. "When we arrived at the San Francisco airport, my father and my two brothers- in-law were there to meet us--with two cars, to hold all of us. My father hadn't seen us for a whole year; and he became so nervous, and his legs were shaking so badly, that he couldn't get out of the car. So he sent my two brothers-in-law to get us. They had never seen us before, but they knew they had to look for a woman with a lot of kids. "They brought us to the car, and my father was still so overwhelmed that he just sat in the car and cried and cried. We all cried too, with joy, as our trip was over and our family was all together again." Muffler Systems Installed :k Mufflers $1 995 Exhaust & Tailpipes In Stock! Call For Prices Richland, Ore. an utomotive -- Curt RandaU-- 893-6150 LEFT TO RIGHT: Michelle, Inez, Dennis and Justin Curtis and Marcia Teixeira of Brazil. "It is fun having Marcia here," says Inez. "Her Portugese and mine are quite different, although the basic words are the same. Marcia and I resemble each other quite a bit. Most Portugese people have oval faces and dark hair and eyes, just as we have." 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