On my father’s side, I am a descendent of a Portuguese fisherman who came to this country from the Azores in the late 1800’s and settled in Jamestown. His son, my grandfather, worked his entire life in the engine rooms of the Jamestown ferries, both from Jamestown to the mainland and from Jamestown to Newport. He was on the boats during the Great Hurricane of 1938, though he lost his car when it was washed away by the tidal wave that swept through the West Ferry.
My father served in the Korean War as a forward air traffic controller, rising to Staff Sergeant, and joined the Ferry Company when he came home. He later ran the toll collecting operation at the Newport (later the Pell) Bridge, until he retired in the late 1990’s. He is still working today, as a bus monitor in Jamestown.
My mother is the youngest child of German farmers, who came to this country as a young woman in the late 1950’s. She worked in a bakery and learned to speak English by taking classes at Rogers High School at night.
Together, she and my father raised their three children in Jamestown, and though they never attended themselves, they worked hard to send all of us to college, and my brother and me to law school.