The year is 1841. A farmer family, O’Callaghan, has got a potato farm in Northern Ireland, in a little town called Forkhill. The town was called so because there were big sharp mountains all around the town. It is autumn, and the potatoes are ready to be taken up from the earth….
”Mom, dad!!! Come on, let’s dig the potatoes up of the earth and sell em!!!” George screamed. George was the youngest in this family, he was ten years old… He had a sister, Sinead, a mom, Louise, and a dad, Robbie.
” We will come soon George… We just have to get dressed first.” mom said.
Soon the whole family was ready. ” We will follow the tradition. The youngest in the family pulls the first potato plant up from the earth.” Robbie Said. George had waited for this since they had planted the potatoes . He took the plant, and pulled it up of the earth. ”AAAAAA they are rotten!!!!” George screamed. ”Calm down, George. This was only one plant. There are hundreds of other plants…
They worked hard the whole day, and in the evening, they sat down with the table in the living room.
” We have a problem.. We have taken up over half of the potato plants, and we haven’t found one little potato that isn’t rotten.. It seems that our main income, has got a disease, and rottened…” Robbie said. Everyone sat with tears in their eyes. ”I will check out if anyone is so kind that they will give us some potatoes tomorrow. If not, we have to sell this farm and move to another place.” “ Come on Sinead and George. Let’s go to bed now,” Louise said.
When George and Sinead woke up next morning, Louise and Robbie sat by the kitchen table and talked. ”Sinead and George! Can you come down here?” mom asked. ” Okay,” George said and walked towards the table. Sinead also came.
” It isn’t better with our neighbours either. All the potatoes have got a disease. There is a meeting in the town hall at 5 am. Can you take up the other potatoes and check if there are some that aren’t rotten?” Robbie asked. “ Of course” Sinead said. “ But what shall we do if all the other potatoes are rotten too? We can’t live a normal life if we don’t have potatoes… they are our main income!” “ We’ll see, we’ll see..”
Sinead, George and Louise worked hard all day, but they didn’t get too inspired to move on, because all the potatoes were rotten.
Robbie came home at 7 am that day. Everyone sat down by the table and he told them what came up in that meeting: “All the big farmers have got diseases on their potatoes, and the few farms that haven’t got a disease only have enough potatoes to themselves. A ship will leave Georgetown, North Carolina, tomorrow. If you all agree, I will travel with that ship, and I’ll try to get a job and find a place to live. In the mean time you can be here and have small jobs, and I’ll send a letter when I’ve found a house/farm and when I’ve got a job. Then all three of you can come over… Any comments??”
“ Why can’t we all go over to USA??” George asked. “ Because it’s hard to earn enough money for all of us to live there.. It’s hard enough to live a normal life there by yourself…
Early morning the next day he went to the ship. He didn’t want to say goodbye to George and Sinead, because it would be to hard for him. He knew that at would be long until he would see them again, and maybe he never would see them again. The ship was much nicer than he expected, but it was also much more expensive..
George, Sinead and Louise took small jobs in the little town, and fished in the sea every day to get enough money to survive.
Many of the town’s citizen was ill, and Louise shopped and helped them. This was her way to earn money.
The days went as usual, and they managed to live..
One month later they got an letter from USA.
“ Come on!!” Louise said. “Let’s read it together!”
Sinead and George ran in to the little kitchen.
Louise started to read:
“ Dear George Louise and Sinead
I’ve found a little farm, and I‘ve bought it!!! Take the ship that goes from Warrenpoint on Wednesday the fifth of October.
It’s name is Esmeralda.
It is beautiful down here!!! I can’t wait to see you again
LOVE FROM ROBBIE”
“Yes!!! He has found a place to live!! We will soon meet him again!!” screamed George. “ Well we have to earn some money. It’s over two weeks until the ship will go. Let’s get some sleep now. We have hard work to do tomorrow,” said Louise with a smile that made her beautiful lips look even more beautiful.
George and Sinead couldn’t wait to meet their dad again. They tried to get some sleep, but it wasn’t easy when the only thing they thought of was their dad. “Sinead,” asked George. “Are you awake??” “Yes.. What is it??” asked Sinead with a tired voice. “ Have you noticed that moms face has been palished lately??? Do you think she is ill??” asked George. “ No, I don’t think so… I think she’s just stressed. Good night.” said Sinead and tried to sleep.
The next morning they woke up early. Sinead and George walked around in the neighbour towns and tried to find a buyer for their big farm. They didn’t need it, cause they wanted to stay in USA for the rest of their lives, and they also needed money for the journey. George and Sinead couldn’t find a buyer for their farm, so they walked home.
Sinead opened up the door to the kitchen: “ MOM!! Are you okay!!” Louise laid on the floor. She was white in her face.“ George !! “Go get Doctor Keane!!” Sinead screamed .And George ran. He had never moved so fast before, and reached the doctor’s house on five minutes. He ran in the door and screamed: ”Doctor!! Mom is ill!!!” “Calm down little boy. What’s wrong with her?” asked Mr. Keane. “ She lies on the floor. She has fainted!! Come on!!” screamed George. Doctor Keane ran after George.
Doctor Keane ran in the door, and saw that Sinead had helped Louise into her bed. “ Is she okay??” asked Mr Keane. “Well, I don’t know. It’s your job to find that out, isn’t it?” asked Sinead. “ Yes, of course” said doctor Keane. “ Can you please go out a little minute, so I can check if she’s alright,” asked Mr Keane.
Sinead and George walked out. After a while doctor Keane came out again. “ Well… she isn’t feeling too good. I’m afraid you have to travel to USA without her.. I’m sorry.. It’s nothing I can do. She has got a illness that we don’t know what is. She has less then ten days to live. “ said Doctor Keane. “ NO!! It can’t be true!!!” screamed Sinead and ran into Louise's room. Louise laid there, and just stared a spot in the roof. “Oh, is it you Sinead. Can you ask George to come in here?” asked Louise with a nice voice. “Yes, of course” said Sinead, trying to hide that she was crying. “ George, can you come in her.” He was also crying.
“ As the doctor may have told you, I’m going to die soon. I have an illness that many of the people I’ve helped has. In the letter in the chair, it’s explained how you can get to Warrenpoint, when the ship goes, and what to do when you come to USA..
I love you.. Go out and earn some money now, cause the travel will be expensive. I need to sleep,” said Louise.
George and Sinead walked around in the little town, and cried. “ WHY HER, GOD!!! WHY!!!!!!!” screamed Sinead.
George and Sinead talked about what to do. “ Well, soon we will loose one of our family member, so the only thing we can do is to take that ship to USA, with or without mom,” said Sinead.