My father never did find an employer in New York, though he did go to work every day. I still remember him setting out each morning, carrying the yellow manila envelope that he used instead of a briefcase, along with a large brown box perched under his arm.I could not tell it in such dry, matter of fact style. It is too emotionally loaded for me.
He had become a tie salesman. His "office" was the streets and subways of New York, where he offered prospective customers dazzling ties with labels that said "100% Silk" and "Made in France" or "Made in Italy." They were none of the above, but the customers were taken by his charm and perhaps also moved by the sight of this dignified old man. And he occasionally made a sale.
I know because, as a little girl, I would sometimes watch as he button-holed potential customers on the street, or on the BMT line, and open the box to reveal his treasure trove of ties.
The bits of money that he earned helped to pay the rent, put food on the table and, not least, repay the debt of the Queen Mary (they had purchased their passage to America on credit. J). By the summer of 1979 the debt was down to $39. He made two payments, one in July and the final one, for $20, in September. An agency worker stamped a receipt "Paid in Full" and marked the balance due: "$.00."
I think the bureaucrats who wavered about letting Dad come to the U.S. should feel, on balance, pleased with their decision. He turned out to be an awfully good credit risk.