I RETURN TO THE ISLAND
ON THE morning of November 1, 1931, I went to Ellis Island to take the oath of office. My wife accompanied me.
No one knew that I was coming, and I had decided to make the trip as any visitor would, asking for a ferry boat pass at the Barge Office in the regular way.
In the twenty-four years I had been in America I had not set foot on the Island since 1907, when I was admitted as an immigrant.
The ride across the harbor, with the Statue of Liberty looming high upon our left, brought back a thousand memories. I thought of the other day when we had come through--of my mother who had entered the country with high hope, but had at last gone back to Italy in desperation to die. That and countless other things which had happened to our family in America passed through my mind.
The sun shone brightly that morning as the ferry coasted into the Ellis Island slip, and groups of deportees were to be seen walking about the enclosed lawn behind the administration building. The place seemed to be a veritable beehive of activity.
No one recognized me as I walked up to the information desk and presented my pass. No name appeared on this pass, and the clerk at the desk asked me a great many questions. Finally I had to tell him that I was the new commissioner. He was somewhat