Thursday, April 28, 2011


Day 1:

I consider myself as one of the most remarkable baseball players ever. I was born on March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, Ohio, being the oldest of the five children of McKinzie Jr. and Nancy Young. My education stopped at the sixth grade so I could help my parents with farming chores, but it was also at this time that I discovered the game of baseball. Encouraged by our father, we, the Young boys, played during all the free time we had. My brothers preferred to play as hitters, but I quickly realized that I was a better pitcher. I  practiced with my father who taught me everything, and considering the genius of his son, the father of Cy encouraged him to play on a team.

Day 2:

I practiced a lot and played many recreational matches with my friends and family. Of course, those matches were too easy for a man that will one day become one of the best baseball players ever, me. Everyone wanted to play in my team because I always won. So I organized my own team in Gilmore, Ohio, which competed against other teams in the neighborhood. But very soon I recognized that I was meant to be a professional baseball player. With this thought in mind, I was admitted to several semi-pro teams in Ohio such as Newcomerstown, Cadiz, and Uhrichsville. This was in 1884 to 1888. In that year, I took a big step in my career: recognizing my enourmous talent, I was tracked down and accepted to play for one of the best semi-pro teams of the US. It’s Carrollton.

Day 3:

In Carrolton, I developed into an incredible pitcher. But I didn’t just pitch. I played second base a lot too. The first box score that contained my name came from that season. In that game I exceptionally played first base and had three hits in three at-bats. My coach and teammates were amazed by my talent and so were the Carrolton fans. We all knew that I would not play for Carrolton a long time. And as I thought, at the last game of the season, which turned out to be my last ever for Carrolton, a lot of people from different major league teams came to see me play. And as always I was the best on the field, so I received an offer from the major league Canton team. This started my professional career.

DAY 4:
My first game in the Major League was on August 6, 1890. I was just 23 years old. The first time I pitched I got three strikes in a row. With that all the supporters knew that I would be a good pitcher. At my first throw all the people in the stadium applauded me and were my fans. I was stressed, as I said at the end of the game, but my first game was a successes. I won! I earned my nickname when an observer in the stadium observed that I could throw the ball with the force of a cyclone. I was known as Cy from that moment. The Cleveland Spiders were my first real fans. Until this moment on I knew I was the best pitcher.

Day 5 :

Two years after I debuted in 1890, my regular season was a success. I led the National League in wins (with 36) and shutouts (9). At that time the National League was using a split season format during the 1892 season, which meant the season was split into two halves. The Boston Beaneaters won the first-half title, and the Spiders won the second-half title, with a best-of-nine series determining the league champion. Despite the Spiders second half run, the Beaneaters swept the series, five games to none. I pitched three complete games in the series, but I lost two decisions. But one of them I threw a complete game shutout, but the game ended in a 0–0 tie.
The Spiders faced the Baltimore Orioles in the Temple Cup, in 1895. I won three games in the series and Cleveland won the Cup, four games to one.

Day 6:

After one-hitting Boston on May 2, 1904, Philadelphia Athletics pitcher Rube Waddell taunted me to face him so that he could repeat his performance against me. Three days later, I pitched a perfect game against Waddell and the Athletics. It was the first perfect game in American League history Waddell was the 27th and last batter, and when he flied out, I shouted, "How do you like that, you hayseed?" Waddell had picked an inauspicious time to issue his challenge. My perfect game was the centerpiece of a pitching streak. I set major league records for the most consecutive scoreless innings pitched and the most consecutive innings without allowing a hit; the latter record still stands at 24.1 innings, or 73 hitless batters. Even after allowing a hit, my scoreless streak reached a record 45 shutout innings. Before me, only two pitchers had thrown perfect games. My perfect game was the first under the modern rules established in 1893. Those highlights were the middle of my career, and they astound me even today.

Day 7: 

To me, baseball isn’t a sport, it’s an art form. That’s why I don’t practice to perfect my pitching style. I think that pitching comes as an instinct. It comes from learning and  
practicing at an early age, I wanted to be the best I could be. That’s why I never practice or warm up when I’m about to be called up to the mound. I know what I have to do, and I know how to do it well. It’s not that I’m trying to be full of myself, but I just go out, pitch, and win games. That is where I guess my life’s true calling is: the mound. Therefore my genius isn’t in how I throw the ball or the technique I use, it is in my state of mind that I become the best.

Day 8:
During my final years in the major leagues, I think I gained much notoriety. In one game, I allowed just one hit while facing 28 batters. That was amazing! The best of my new found notoriety was that on August 13, 1908, the league celebrated "Cy Young Day." No American League games were played on that day, and a group of All-Stars from the league's other teams gathered in Boston to against my team and I. In 1908 a month after my one hit game and just past my 41st birthday, I pitched the third no-hitter of my career and set a record as the oldest pitcher to achieve a no-hitter, a record! I think that no one will surpass it for some time. In 1908, I was the second-oldest player in either league, and I was feeling it.During my final season I was traded many times. First to the Cleveland Naps in the American league, I played over half my career a part of that team before the 1909 season. The following season, 1910, I won my 500th career game on July 23rd against Washington. I was astonished I  had come this far, and I thought I had reached my peak. During my final season in 1911, I split it between the Cleveland Naps and the Boston Rustlers.

Day 9:

On October 6th, 1911, the day my final game was supposed to be played, I was nervous. My control had slipped, I had gained weight and I had been the oldest player in the  league for the past 3 years. I relied on my control because my fastball had slowed to a crawl but now that it was gone, I didn’t really know what to do. But, 2 weeks earlier, I had shutout the Pittsburg Pirates 1-0 for a win. I wasn’t sure today would be the same. I felt a certain nervousness about stepping onto the mound, a feeling I hadn’t felt ever since I had my first pitch in the American league. That nervousness turned to shame as I watched the final eight batters of my career come up to face me. They combined to hit a triple, four singles, and three doubles. I guess in the end I just gave up trying, I just let them hit. It was a sad day for me, and in some ways a happy one, sad because I was leaving the sport I loved, but happy because I finally could go live on a farm in Peoli, Ohio with my wife and have a nice retirement. My career ended that day, and in many ways, my life.

Day  10  : 
I am so relieved that I’m retired once and for all. My life has had many ups and downs. Every day I got to go and play on legendary fields and against legendary players such as myself. I used to hear the crowd cri out my name as I stepped on the field. I felt the sweet joy of hitting a home run and the relief of winning a game. But now it is time look behind and pass on my knowledge to other players. Now I can go back to my house in peoli and retire with my sweet wife Robba. I am now starting my life after baseball. My wife Robba is a kind woman. My first day on the farm I see ahead of me a long life of retirement.

Day 11 :

My life on the farm is very peaceful. Instead of working out, I now plant potatoes and attend to my sheep, hogs and chicken. My wife is pregnant and we are expecting a baby. As Robba is giving birth to my first daughter was more stressful than before a game. I am holding my child in my hands but then suddenly she dies right in front of my eyes, her cause of death was unknown. This has been a very dramatic moment for me, I have decided that I will not take a risk like this ever again. She was born in 1907. As I thought things were getting at their worst my wife Robba past away. I now have to sell my farm for there is nothing here for me and go back to were I came from. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a farmer maybe I was just supposed to play baseball. 

Day 12 :

Retirement is not going as I planed. I am being bested by financial problems. In 1935 I traveled to Augusta, Georgia where I joined a group of baseball veterans. I played exhibition matches thinking that I could make some money. But I had to accept the fact that I was done with baseball and that it was time to move on. When this venture failed, I returned to Ohio Where I found a job at a retail store working as a clerk. I did not make much money so I lived with a local couple, john and Ruth Benudum. Today I still live with them but I am feeling a bit week lately. I am dead, I have died from a coronary occlusion, it was November 4th 1955, I was 88 years old. I am buried in the Peoli cemetery and baseball has given me the pitching award that still bears my name.                



Day 1 : April, 12th 1892

A Jewish immigrant
Dear Journal,

                 My name is Deborah Attman and I am thirteen years old. I live in the city of Kovno, in the northwest of Russia … and I am a Jew. It is now a part of my identity. In the street, this question became a habit: “Are you Jewish?” because people know that we are no longer safe here. The Jewish community is persecuted in southwestern Russia; people are killed – especially children. Their homes, businesses and religious centers are destroyed. We call these “Pogroms”, but I call it genocide… We are scared; if it started in the south, it will surely ‘come’ in the north. Our only solution is to leave, but we don’t have enough money. A lot of Jews are going to America. My mother thinks that we would be safe, and have a better life there, but it is too far. My father says that it will be okay, and that we’ll find a way. I hope so …

Day 2 : May 25th 1892
A steam boat
 Dear journal,

 It has been almost a month, a month of travel in this boat, and it has been more than a month that I didn’t write in my journal, but I didn’t have time to. The moving took us a lot of time and everything went so fast...
Our Orthodox rabbi lent us money so that we would have enough for living in New York. It was really hard to say goodbye to all my friends and my family because I don’t know if I will ever see them again.
We first took a horse car to the train station, and then we took the train to Marseille, in France. It took us almost six days to arrive there because of some connection problems I guess. I didn’t really understand what they were saying though. I was exhausted when we arrived in Marseille, but the travel in the train was really fun. I spent the whole time playing board games with my father. When we finally arrived, we didn’t have time to rest. Marcel, a friend that my dad met while he was working in France, drove us to the port where we were supposed to take our boat. He is very nice, and he has this really weird accent when he is speaking English. But since none of us knows how to speak French! We spent a night there and we took our boat the next day at 7; because it was getting dark, and no one could see us. What we were doing was technically illegal.
There are a lot of people in the boat, from all over the world. The beginning of the trip was great, but it is starting to get boring. The only children that are on the boat are babies.
My 18-month-old little brother, Jacob, caught cholera, like a lot of the passengers. He can not stop throwing up and he has a fever. A lady told my dad that it was because of the conditions of the trip. We only have one cabin for four people. There are two beds of medium size.  I am sharing mine with my brother which is very annoying because he wakes up really early.
We are also not eating really well because my parents said that we had to keep money for when we will be in New York, and the captain makes us pay for two meals a day. I heard some people saying that it is because we were Jews …
I have to go, Mom is calling me. I will probably be back later.

Day 3 : June 19th 1892

View of Ellis Island
 Dear journal,

 We finally arrived at Ellis Island after a really long trip that took us about 49 days. I am very excited but upset at the same time. Jacob didn’t survive cholera. It makes me sad when I think that he won’t get the chance to have a better life, here, in New York.
But the worst is yet to come: the fear of being denied entry to the country after the passage at the immigration depot. 
The officers first called our names, and we were hundreds of thousand of immigrants. We had to wait more than two hours, since a lot of them didn’t know how to pronounce Jewish, Italian names or wherever we were from. Then, they moved us to the “Temporary Detention Room”. The room was very small. We were all stacked one on top of the other and it smelled really bad. We waited for a really long time but I don’t know how long exactly. Later, they called my parents. They asked them some questions about the life that we had in Kovno and a bunch of other stuff. Because they said that they didn’t want us to become a public charge, but to take care of ourselves. My father told us that we were going to stay here almost two days. The time that the officers, or whoever they are, need to see everyone and to “decide of our future”. Hopefully, their answers would be satisfacting for us to stay in the city.

Day 4 : June 22nd 1892 

Great hall
 Dear journal,

            It has been almost two days since we arrived at Ellis Island and apparently they might drop us in the Lower East Side tomorrow morning. We spent the night in this big enclosed room with all the other immigrants. I didn’t sleep really well; we used benches and clothes as beding. Today we are supposed to be inspected by the doctor to make sure we weren’t sick, contagious or that we wouldn’t transmit disease in New York. The doctor who inspected me was wearing this uniform that makes me remember of the Russian one. The doctors inspected our eyesight, our health, our skin, and our heart rate. They tested our ears and they also took our temperature. The peoples who were sick or weak were supposed to return in their departure country. Hopefully anyone in my family had to go back to Russia.
             After the inspection we were interviewed again and this time they asked us question like “what’s two and two?” and “Can you read?”
For lunch we were all in this huge cafeteria with hundreds of peoples, we had fish and milk with bread. It was the best meal since our departure from Russia. While we waited in this room after our nourishing meal the inspectors announced us about our departure from Ellis Island to the Lower East Side. We would be boarding in the ferry tomorrow morning at 7AM.     
Day 5 : June 25th 1892
Street view in the Lower East Side
  Dear journal,

          This morning a steamboat dropped us off in a port on the Lower East Side. We were finally in New York. I was so excited and so tired at the same time. We took our stuff and we walked for hours searching for an apartment to rent. We only took one small bag and one big bag with us. It was 9 o’clock when we arrived. There was already a lot of activity on the Lower East Side. We crossed Seward Park, a park near Canal Street. It was beautiful. The trees were all green and there were flowers everywhere. A few minutes later a group of white children started staring at us like we were from a different planet. I didn’t know why they looked at us with this weird expression on their faces. But later, I discovered it was because we were Jewish. We walked past a school and I was able to tell by the children’s faces and by there language that there were a lot of different nationalities on the Lower East Side. There were Italian, Irish and a lot of Jews like us. I was happy to know that we weren’t the only Jews in town. I learnt that there were about 5 millions that moved to the Lower East Side just like us.

Day 6 : July 2nd 1892
View of the Lower East Side
Dear journal,

 It has been a long time since we arrived in New York. Right now it’s five pm and I just returned from school. We live in the Lower East Side on Henry Street between Jefferson Street and Clinton Street, in a 3 floor town house that we had to share with two other Jewish families. Our apartment is pretty small; the structure is made with brick which make it look like a prison. On the front of the house there are narrow stairways to escape in case of fire. Inside our apartment it’s really hot because most of the windows are broken and it’s hard to open them. I’m sharing a room with my parents, because we have only three rooms; one bedroom one kitchen and one living room. There is no gas light or electricity in the apartment so we use candles and oil lamp. The bathrooms are in the backyard and we have to share them with our neighbors. There is no water in the apartment so my mom needs to go in the backyard where the water pump is to do laundry, and to wash dishes. My school is a regular school on the Lower East Side near my house. At first my classmates ignore me but then some girls came up to me and ask me my name. Those girls were Irish; Cathleen arrived 2 month ago and Aine arrived 5 month ago. After school I often go to the park with them and with my other classmates.

Day 7 :  July 9th 1892

Street view of the Lower East Side
 Dear journal,

          One week ago, my parents found new work. It’s in a textile industry. They have to make clothes. They only get 8 dollars a week, for 16 hours of work a day… I think it is so unfair, but my father tries to be positive so he always repeats that it is how life is and that we’re already lucky to be here in New York. I know he’s right and I know we’re lucky to be here, but still, I miss my old life in Russia. I miss my friends and my old school and everything.
Here, we are in a regular school near our house. We have friends and we go to the park during our free time when it doesn’t rain outside. I like to go to the park with my friends because it is the only time when we can have a bit of fun and anyways, it’s the only recreation we have. When we’re in the streets to go back home after going to the park or when we come back from school, there are many immigrants just like us, who left their hometown to find safety in New York. But sometimes, there are also people who are anti-semitic and who often insult us in a really mean way.

Day 8 : July 13th 1892
 Dear journal,

           Today was just a regular day like all the others. It was sunny in the afternoon, so, after school, I went to the park with my friends. We played together, ran in the grass and had a good time. It was actually really hot today. We stayed a long time at the square. Then, I went home by the same way I usually take to go home. I saw many familiar faces today in the streets. I think I saw them at the Synagogue. There were also racist people, as usual. Nativists insulted us and screamed at us saying that we were invading their country and other things like this. I am starting to get used to it. It doesn’t shock me as it did when I was new in the neighborhood.
When I arrived home, my parents were not there yet. I ate a snack and I did my homework. This night, when I was done with all my work, I started to write a letter to my friends in Russia. I miss them a lot. I think they will never get my letter, because from New York to Russia is a long distance and I don’t even know if my friends still have the same address as they used to have when I lived in Kovno. I hope they are okay.
Later in the evening, my parents finally came back from work. They were exhausted, like every night. Mom quickly prepared a dinner and then we went to bed. I ran so much today that I fell asleep instantly.  

         Day 9 : December 3rd 1905              

  Dear old journal,

     I am so moved to have recovered you. It has been such a long time… about 13 years. I thought I lost you at the park or something. Oh my God, I’m so happy to be able to read my own memories again! My life did not change that much during those 13 last years… unfortunately.  I still live on the Lower East Side, in the same house as before and the situation has not got any better. It is actually kind of worse. My mother died 3 years ago, because she was always tired. She worked during most of the day and did not sleep during most of the night. I got so depressed when she died. I did not eat and did not talk to anyone for a while. I stayed in my room, alone.  For those last 3 years, I have been alone with my father in our small house.
As I am now 26, I am not going to school anymore. I recently found a good job after university. My father saved money during the last years for me to go to a good university. Thanks to him, now I am a teacher in the school I used to go to and I earn a bit more money for both of us than he used to earn with his old job in the textile industry. I am happy to be with those children who are now in the same conditions as I was. There are children from all over the world. The majority of them are immigrants who had to leave their country. I listen to their story, and then they listen to mine.
I never saw my Russian friends again, and unless if all of those problems in the world finally stop one day, I don’t think I have chances to meet them again. I don’t even have news of them. It is the same story for my grandma, my uncles, aunts, etc. They did not follow us when we left Russia 14 years ago, because they said that God would not do that to them: they believed that the pogroms against Jews would stop in a short while. I’m really upset right now. I miss everybody and especially my family and I curse the ones that were against us, the Jewish people.


Day 1: September 11th, 1870
 Frank Mc Callister
My name is Frank Mc Callister I live in Brooklyn and I am 38 years old. I have a wife and two lovely girls. Unfortunately, I can’t give them the life they deserve. In fact, I’ve been looking for a job for more than six months and I haven’t been able to feed my family properly. But one day, as I was walking down Fulton Street, I suddenly saw a strange paper hanging on the wall of an empty store. I walked towards this strange looking paper to get a closer look. I could read,“Laborers NEEDED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE ‘BROOKLYN BRIDGE’.’’  As I examined the paper I could read the location of the sign up. I walked back home to tell my wife, she was in tears. As I left the house, I took the bus to the office where the registration was done to participate in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Once there, I was given a sheet which I filled up with personal information. As I read, I was paid $2.25 by the day.

Day 2: September 12th, 1870
Susan Mc Callister
         Ode to Joy! My husband, my amazing husband has found employment! It has been so long since we have had a decent meal, a good house (we live on140 West Eighth Street between 6th and 7th Avenue) because we had to move due to lack of money and our poor girls have not had a proper education. I had to educate them based on my own school-based knowledge. Finally, after six months, finally free of the curse of debt. Our lives have been so hard! With no money for electricity, we have been working with candle light. With poor plumbing we have been having pipes break left and right and having to pay a plumber to get them fixed isn’t easy. Though clothes are a lot cheaper thanks to new machines, we still don’t have enough in our savings to buy new clothes. We didn’t even have enough money to put in the bank since you need a minimum and we don’t have enough. Right now our savings are under our mattress. The winter has been very harsh, we have no money for coal-powered heating, and since we have little to no clothes we’re lucky if we survive. Though it pays 1$ per day it is better than nothing. At this point any amount of money will help us. Nothing could possibly get worse, only better.

Day 3: September 16th, 1870
Frank Mc Callister
It’s my first day of going to work. Susan prepared a lovely sandwich for me to eat at lunch and my daughters are going on their first day of school of the year. Everything is perfect and the weather is beautiful. As I was walking near the entrance of the factory, I could see about a couple of hundred men walking down the streets. They all look alike, hefty with a long beard. A lot of them came from Europe. I’ve heard that John Roebling had offered workers the chance to come from Europe to New York and help with the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. As I was walking down the entrance of the factory, I could see rows of chairs filling the room. There was also a stand with a microphone on it at the very end of the room. I took a seat and guessed that we were having an assembly. A man with a beard and short hair wearing a very nice suit walked toward the stand. His name was John Roebling and he was a very nice looking man. I’ve heard that his full name was John Augustus Roebling; he was born June 12, 1806 in Muhlhausen and died July 22 1869. He was a civil engineer, and was famous for his wire rope suspension bridge design. He talked about our job’s tasks and our job’s conditions. He also talked about our salaries and the consequences to failure of our tasks; if we didn’t respect the rules or disobeyed, a part of our salaries would be reduced. I was assigned to the caissons; we were warned that the conditions in the caissons were very hard. After those words he left the room. We were given numbers to recognize the workers; my number was 102. Once the numbers were given, we were each assigned to our lockers; they were numbered by our identity numbers.

          Day 4: September 20th 1870 
Frank Callister
Today is my second day of work. Since the second I woke up, I was extremely nervous. I couldn’t stop thinking of the way people are at the work site. I ate my breakfast with a strange feeling; I felt empty inside. I left the house and took the bus to the factory; it was a thirty minute ride. Once I arrived at the factory, I went to my locker to change into my working clothes. I noticed that a little boy was crying in a corner. I came closer, and asked him what was wrong.  He told me that he came from
Europe. Apparently, Europeans were sent to New York to help with the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. The little boy arrived with his dad and brother; it must have been sad leaving his mother. I patted the kid’s shoulder and comforted him. As soon as he stopped crying, I left with my shovel to start working. My current work site was the caissons. As we went there, the look on my fellow co-workers' face was ungraspable. I couldn’t tell if they were happy or sad; most of them looked displeased. Indeed it made me feel uncomfortable. As they appeared to me, the caissons were large wooden boxes with no bottoms. Inside the caissons, the atmosphere was always misty and the caissons were dimly lit. The task we were given was to keep digging until we reached solid bedrock. The working conditions in the caisson were exceedingly difficult.
Day 5: November 22nd 1870
            Susan Callister
          Finally, we are able to afford a turkey for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. My girls are so happy and so am I. Since Frank has been working at the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, our financial situation has been better and we have been living decently but not exactly how we want to. In fact, as much as Frank puts all his energy to this work, his salary can’t cover all our expenses. But thankfully this year, our Thanksgiving is composed of home cooked pumpkin pie, a small stuffed turkey, corn bread and an oyster soup. I paid 10 dollars for this whole meal but it was worth it.  I am very happy that Frank’s friend joined us for the jolly event. Our house is very small and our family and Frank’s friend can barely fit inside. Our furniture is dull and cheap. Our house is composed of 3 rooms: the kitchen, the living room where my girls sleep and our bedroom. We share the bathroom, which is outside, with the whole building. We are all sitting around the table now, hand in hand and Frank is about to make a speech:
“Thank you Lord. You have given me a beautiful family: a wonderful wife whom I love with all my heart, two lovely girls for whom I would do anything to make them a happy and loyal and trustworthy friend. Thank you Lord for having surrounded me with such amazing people. You have been generous and gave us a decent Thanksgiving! I am very thankful too that I am in good health when the work conditions are not that great.”
I started to get emotional and my eyes watered a little: I am so proud of my husband! When the girls went to bed, Frank, his friend Harry and I went in the living room and discussed the evolution of the bridge.
“It’s very dangerous", says Harry "Every time I leave my family to go to work I’m always scared it’s the last time I’m ever going to see them!”
"Let us not talk bad about our job, for it is the one that allows having such a nice feast", replies Frank.
"And I am just as thankful as you are. But the conditions are very bad. When we work in the caissons, digging away the mud and bedrock at the bottom of the river, my breathing gets heavier and heavier. I can’t breath properly and my energy leaves me and…"'
"Enough! I know our job is not the best one around but at least we have something to eat at night!" yells Frank nervously.
"Calm sweetie, let’s go to bed now, it’s late", I intervene.
And so we did, but that night I couldn’t sleep, I was worried about what was going to happen the next day.

         Day 6: December 2nd 1870
           Susan Mc Callister
         When I hear the door open, my heart fills with joy! I run towards the entrance and jump into Frank’s arms. Oh I have been worrying all day long about Frank’s health. Lately he has come home very late at night. I noticed his hands were burned.
"What happened?" I asked.
"There was fire damage today in the caisson. A huge fire came out of nowhere and in three minutes it expanded through the whole caisson. And…"
"Wait a second. What is a caisson… Are you okay? Did anyone get hurt?" I was very worried.
"It’s all fine now. A caisson is the platform on which the towers of the bridge stand. They’re large wooden boxes with no bottom. They touch the bottom of the river and it is where we have to pump the compressed air into the chambers to keep the water from rushing in. We dug the mud away and it is very hard and dangerous because the air doesn’t circulate well which makes it hard to breath. People like me can handle it but today I saw an elderly man suffocate. They had to take him away in a gurney, I felt horrible…  Right after, a spark flew and the fire started. All I could see was smoke. People were yelling, screaming and crying. I heard a man’s voice ordering us to exit the caisson immediately through the entry. The door was blocked and I had to push it to be able to evacuate. That’s how I got my finger burned. But I am okay, don’t worry, nobody died."
This worried me but no matter how hard I begged him to stay home with us, he wouldn’t listen to me and would say that without this job we were nothing. I hope he’s wrong.

Day 7: December 13th 1870                  
Frank Mc Callister
During the coldest season of the year, leaving the house was terrifying. The weather outside was brutal. The wind was strong and cold, the snow was hard and constantly falling. Not only building the bridge was difficult; imagine constructing it under these conditions. Life during this time of the year was a nightmare. The part of the bridge that was already constructed was slippery and people fell easily. There were a lot more injuries than usual. I didn’t have winter clothes and my body was freezing. The pieces of snow shattered on my neck and the wind made it worse and I couldn’t afford warm clothes because my salary wasn’t decent and I was focused on taking food home to my family. The powerful blizzard made it very hard to see and the metal was cold and hard to handle. The construction was slower and slower, harder and harder… The chiefs of the construction crew wanted us to work without rest because we needed to work as fast as usual. I hope to make it until next season when the sun will rise high upon the sky.

DAY 8: December 25th 1870
Susan Mc Callister
 It’s Christmas! The nicest and jolliest time of the year! Thanks to the job, we can finally afford gifts! I got the girls each one toy, for Juliette a Spinning Top and for Lucy a game of Jacks. They were hard to find, since everyone wants them, but I succeeded anyway. Finally for Frank, I got him a pair of leather gloves for his work. He almost caught frost bite many times. The gloves were very expensive, three dollars and fifty cents is as much as three days worth of meals! But I’m fully confident that they will serve him well, though recently I have been noticing that he has been weakening. I have noticed that his ribs are starting to show. Sometimes I wonder if he has any lunch breaks, I pack him water and a ham and cheese sandwich every day but when he comes home it’s three quarters finished. His fingers are getting bony. Actually, everything is getting a little bony. I am starting to worry but I will not bring this up today, but sometime soon. I have to tell him that something is going wrong. Not only is he getting weak but he is getting rashes, his lymph nodes are getting swollen, he’s getting sick (such as vomiting, ringing in ears, partial deafness etc…) and you can see his face change into one of a tortured man in every step he takes. But not today, today is a day of no worries. Our small tree (since a big one is expensive) is bright and the snow is slowly falling outside. Everything is peaceful and I will not disrupt it… not today.
Day 9: February 10th 1871
Frank Mc Callister
 The weather got worse and I was very worried about the freezing wind and glacial snow. Working on the Brooklyn Bridge became my biggest fear. I was now afraid of dying, and yet I haven’t said the worst part. The chief of the construction crew offered me a very dangerous job: My “mission” was to go with a partner on top of the East Side Tower and connect a wired cable to make it solid and safer. I wasn’t sure if I should accept the job immediately; this is why I talked about it to my family. If I accepted the job, the good thing would be that my salary would get a little higher and it would be good for the family, but the bad news of course is that the risk of falling or slipping and possibly dying was high. I heard that 26 workers had died because of either wire snapping or falling because of a frozen surface. Harry died because of falling off an icy surface. The job was hard and the conditions were unimaginable. I don’t know what I will do, but I will figure it out.

Day 10: February 20th 1871
Susan Mc Callister
Today Frank told me about his new project: he is now working on the cables. The cables support a central tower and are attached to the tower top or sometimes to several levels. It is very dangerous work and I am really scared for Harry. In fact there are 19 strands in one cable which can present a danger. If one of them snaps, my dear husband Harry can be deadly wounded by falling to a watery grave and be hit in the face… I don’t want that to happen. Plus, each cable’s dead weight is 3,240 kips and one kip is equal to 1000 lbs. If a cable snaps, there is no way Harry can escape… death! Oh, I don’t want Harry to work there anymore. But he won’t listen to me, he says that if he refuses this new post he will get fired. I think his health is more important than the money… If something happens, I am going to have to take care of my girls all alone. Oh my! How are we going to survive? There is no way I can take care of my family on my own. I want Harry to quit this job even though it is the one that keeps us alive. I will do anything, I promise my Lord, I will get a job and bring my girls to work so I can stay there more. Just, just make Harry quit this job… I have a bad feeling about Harry working at this post… Oh Lord, help me!

Day 11: March 3rd 1871
Frank Mc Callister
I had finally taken a decision after a long time thinking about it. I was now ready for my challenge. I took this decision because I knew I wasn’t acting as a real father. I wasn’t providing enough food for my family and I knew I could do a lot more. The next day I talked to my chief and I told him that I was ready to inspect the fastening of that cable. He immediately gave me the right equipment and he showed me and my partner, who just happened to be Harry. We carefully and slowly climbed towards the cable. The surface was cold and frozen and the falling snow hit me all over my unprotected face. It was very difficult and hard to advance towards the cable. Once I reached the steel cable, my mind could only think about my children and my wife. What I was doing was for them, and I wouldn’t let go. Our mission was very simple but dangerous. The people who fastened it had to take the cable and plug it in the hoop so that the bridge would be stable and safer, all we have to do is inspect whether it’s well done or not. I was moving towards the hoop but the fog was very strong and made it difficult to see. I was mostly paying attention to my feet and making sure I wouldn’t slip. Done! I had done it; my mission was successful without injuries. I instantly knew that my family would be proud of me. But wait…!
 Day 12: March 18th 1871
  Susan Mc Callister
            It was eleven o’clock, and Frank should have been home. He promised to come home earlier, at least in time for dinner, and it was four hours before. The girls were asleep; I told them that when they woke up Daddy would be home. I tried to stay calm, but it was hard. I sat in the broken down chair with three holes on the seat rocking back and forth waiting for a sign of life. Occasionally I would hear some kids in the street who came back from a bar, but none of them sounded like Frank. I sat, my body temperature rising, and I started to shake. As I nibbled on some left over bread, I glanced at the clock. It was twelve-thirty. I felt my body go pale. I turned to stone. Where was Frank? Why wasn’t he home yet? I knew that task was a bad idea. But no amount of nagging would help. I started shaking and my teeth started to chatter. I was about to pass out, but as soon as I was about to close my eyes, there was a knock on the door. I felt my blood rushing through my veins, color coming back to my face, and my body filled with happiness. I got up to open the door and I heard another knock followed by three more. Frank had a key, so why would he knock? Five more knocks followed, they sounded desperate. I got a little scared so I grabbed the nearest blunt object. With an umbrella in my hand I opened the door. To my surprise Frank wasn’t there. Harry was. He looked like a ghost, his skin white as sheets. His eyes were red, as if he’d been crying.
“Harry! Where’s Frank?!” I yelled.
“Susan…” he said in a soft voice.
“No!! Where… is… Frank?” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
The girls immediately came out of their room. I told them to go upstairs; there was nothing to worry about.
“Susan listen to me…,” He said in an insisting voice.
“NO! What did you do to him?! Where is he!?” I yelled. I hope the girls couldn't hear.
“He’s dead!” he yelled.
I felt my blood go cold. I stared at him blankly. I felt I had just seen a ghost. As soon as I knew it I fainted.
When I woke up, it was three a.m. and Harry was standing over me, his eyes redder than before. I had a towel on my forehead. As soon as I knew I was conscious, I sat up and yelled:
“Where is Frank!?”
“Susan, Frank died while working,” he said in a very calm voice.
“Wh-What? W-Why? How?!” I said in a panicked yet calm voice.
“We were tightening down wires and Frank’s job was to make sure they were bolted down well. But unfortunately, due to the fact that it was foggy, we didn’t do an amazing job. While inspecting, the wire broke loose and slapped him in the stomach and face killing him instantly. Since the bridge is still a skeleton, he fell through and is now following the current of the river. We are all sorry for your loss. He was a hard worker,” he explained.
That was all I needed to hear to break down in tears. I sobbed for hours, days and years.
Now when I look up at that bridge that is now finished, I look up at the work that Frank has done and I hope that people who use the bridge appreciate the hard work they have done. 



Left to Right: Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, architects of Central Park

                                                            December 18th 1857
Dear Journal,
When I woke up this morning, I opened my newspaper and to my surprise saw that the designs for the Park were chosen. They were chosen through a contest. The architects chosen are Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, two extremely talented men. They better be talented… the Board of Commissioners chose them and is giving them from four hundred to two thousand dollars! I must say, the concept of their design is quite fascinating and enriching. Their goal is to create a relaxing green area where New Yorkers could escape from their day to day lives, a place where people could go and forget about their problems and simply enjoy and live “in the moment”. I sometimes wonder how they’ll be able to get all of the materials and grass necessary… after all,the budget for the park is only 1.5 million dollars. Their design is also interesting… it was chosen due to its complexity and simplicity, but the goal and meaning behind it is powerful. Complex because they are trying to incorporate characteristics from other locations into the park and simple because the trees and foliage are organized into patches and we have a clear idea of what we need to do. I’m so excited for construction to start and to make my mark on Manhattan, but I’m hoping me and my fellow co-workers will be able to properly transmit this message. Luckily, we’ll have many resources at our fingertips and inspiration to go off of since the park is being built after the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn. The only thing I don’t quite understand is why we’re basing it on a cemetery… Isn’t the point of this park to be happy and cheerful? Why take the design of such a morbid, unhappy place?  

                                                                    January 11th 1858

Dear journal,
 This morning, I was so excited before going to work! And I still am… I’ve waited so long for this day…Although I know I have a lot of work ahead of me, I was super excited to get started as it is my first paid job! Although it’s not much, I’m very grateful for this opportunity as I didn’t attend college. Today was the first day. Our supervisors told us a little bit about the history of the area we will be constructing on. This land used to be a slum .About 1,600 citizens used to live there, some as legitimate renters and others as squatters who were evicted; included in this area were a convent, a school, and the residents of Seneca Village, an African-American neighborhood of about 270 people which boasted a school and three churches...I feel very bad for all these people, but the worst is now done! And I’m looking forward to getting started!
                                                             September 23rd 1858
 Dear Journal,                                                                                 
It’s been 9 months since this project began and I’m coming to the realization that this process is not as easy as I thought. The warm summer air is turning into the crisp cold air of fall. Leaves falling here and there…My job is becoming more and more difficult, but my salary stays the same. I come into work at 6am every morning and end at 5pm with only one hour off for lunch and all I get is $1.75 a day! Although I make more than the average worker because I’m a stone cutter, I still think I deserve more especially because I’m surrounded by these disgusting people! Their work is so easy it’s disgraceful. For some reason they all hate me. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this treatment. It’s not my fault I’m more talented than all these people after all! Maybe if they leave, my pay will be higher and that’s something to look forward to. All they do is steal work and complain about other people’s salaries when someone else who would appreciate it much more and be in their place. My brother doesn’t even have a job. He would be more than happy to work instead of these pigs! Just thinking about them makes my blood pressure high.      

                                                           December 12th 1858
Dear Journal,

Ice Skating Rink

We just finished the ice skating rink and it’s opening to the public tonight! I’m finally a part of something important! I accomplished this! Seeing people enjoy themselves and smile on the land that I helped build made me feel so special like I was a king looking over my kingdom! Tonight I forgot about everything. All my problems are out of my mind and all I am thinking about are the kids and their smiles. This feeling was definitely worth all the pain and hard work! I have to keep reminding myself that there’s still much more work to go. Although I’m happy that people really like what we’ve done, it still doesn’t change our salaries. Winter is here and I don’t have enough money to buy a winter coat. I’m going to have to start saving up because I won’t be able to work with the freezing cold air coming.

                                                            December 13th 1858

Dear Journal,
Last night was a complete success! I had the time of my life, observing people having fun in something I helped build. I must admit, after all the time and effort I spent on the park, I was starting to resent my employment there with all the harsh conditions. But last night reminded me of why I started this in the first place: to make people happy. To see the children play with their parents and their friends brought me back to my true motivation. The making of this park was supposed to help other people be in good spirits. And on that note, I just heard the park is expanding to 108th Street. Considering the budget is even lower, the park should have a more untamed, natural look. In other words, less work! The construction should be much more relaxed now that the park is establishing itself as THE place to be. Also, construction is only starting in 1863. I’m hoping that by that time the wages and working conditions will improve. My back was suffering from minor pains so I will be benefitting both physically and mentally.
                                                                 February 15th 1859
Dear Journal,                                                                                                     
I can’t take it. All of the other races are unbearable. I can’t stand the Italians and the blacks. One of my Irish co-workers got murdered. Even though I didn’t know him well, he was a good guy and he was a good hard working Irish man. I’m positive it was the black people. Yesterday I read a newspaper saying how Harlem is full of crime. They could be bringing the crime to the park. But I could be a target. Just the other day we got in a fight. The supervisors had to break us up. I am actually scared. I better just keep my mouth shut and ignore them.
    The Italians could have done it too. They only complain about how the Irish worker’s jobs get higher salaries and the new worker replacing my murdered co-worker is Italian. But I also heard that the Italian mafia has hit New York. All these different races are causing problems except the Irish. We should just get all the jobs and the other races should get sent home.      

                                                                    May 27th 1867
Dear Journal,

Elephant in Central Park

I’ve been working on this park for 10 years! All of my limbs are aching but I have to finish this project not for the people but for me. My whole life I’ve never finished anything and now is my chance to redeem myself. I can’t even bend down that much. I barely have energy to work. My bosses better not notice or I could lose my job. After I finish the park I need to relax for a while. I’m going to start saving up to go somewhere nice. But in the meantime the park still has a long way to go. We just finished the zoo which I enjoy a lot. The elephants just came in and the crowd seems to love them. We also have some hippos and bison. We should be getting more visitors because the train station is being built on the northwest corner of the park. The whole park is so beautiful. A while ago we finished Ramble gorge. It’s a beautiful bird watching area that is completely in synchwith nature.

                                                                     August 12 1873
Dear Journal,                                                                                  

Upper Class Strolling in a Carriage through
Central Park

Over the past weeks I’ve noticed many wealthy people in the park, only wealthy people…. A woman pushing a pram with her baby wearing exceptionally nice clothes was in the park today. Yesterday I saw a family taking a carriage ride along the park. That’s when it hit me; this park isn’t a place where people from all over New York can come and enjoy. This is going to be a park where only rich people come. People that work minimum wage jobs or live paycheck to paycheck will never be seen here , people like……me. I did not spend most of my life making this park the best it can be for it to only be enjoyed by the rich.  I’m so mad all this work is going towards people I don’t even like! Hopefully this is just a phase and people like me will slowly come into the park and appreciate it. 

                                                           May 27th 1873
Dear Journal,
 We’re done! The park is complete! All that sweat and hard work has all paid off! Seeing it all come true is incredible! I can’t even believe that it’s over! The whole park is complete! Words can’t describe how proud I am to have been a part of this amazing creation. The horrible pay, the rude people, the inconvenient hours have all paid off. Seeing people enjoy themselves, having fun and relaxing makes me feel so good, better than I have in months! This project has been my baby for SIXTEEN years. I dedicated myself to making this park the best it could be. I nurtured it and cared for it for SIXTEEN years of my life and now its OVER! It’s the end of this journey in my life; this chapter is over and I am excited to see what is next. I’m feeling a little nostalgic about leaving my work. Knowing where I’m going and what I’m supposed to do when I wake up feels good and now it's unknown. I know that this park will be a great success and it will live on for a very long time. I feel as though a part of me has gone, but at the same"time as though a part of me has been reborn! I’ve decided I’m moving to Ireland. I feel as though my time here is done. Because of this project I have enough money to start a new life.  I’m excited but sad to leave the park but I want to go back to my homeland.
                                                                 August 18th 1886

 Dear Journal,

Tennis Courts in Central Park, 1885
The park is in full swing today! I missed so many things; obviously I’ve been gone too long. There are so many people who visit the park daily. There are even tennis courts! The courts don’t look like much (there’s only temporary netting and the courts are outlined with chalk), but in no time they’ll probably make them permanent. Also, millionaires are lining up around the park! It’s now referred to as Millionaire’s Row. This park is a magnet for money, only the prestigious live near it! I think the less fortunate should be able to live near it as the wealthy do, I’m very flattered they would want to live near something I helped build. The most important thing though, is that the park is now open to all clases. The middle class and the lower class can come just as often as the upper class can. The park is filled life and culture. The way it should be.

When I finished my work on the park it was 1873; many buildings and castles that were being built in the park were not yet finished. To my delight, they have now been completed.

Belvedere Castle
             Also finished and amazing is the Belvedere Castle! It was built in 1872 and also designed by Calvert Vaux. This man inspires me so much, he’s done so much for society.He truly did leave his mark on history. The castle is beautiful; Belvedere actually means “beautiful” in Italian. The view is amazing. It’s the spot to be for couples. The romantic view can really complete a night out with a girlfriend.

Lake Boathouse

            My personal favorite is Lake Boathouse. It’s a two story structure where I can just watch the boats floating on the water, or board a boat. It makes me smile when I see all the New Yorkers row their own boats in their fancy clothing. This place was built in 1873.

Women riding on bikes in Central Park
By far my favorite part of this entire park is seeing how ridiculous the women look on their bicycles. They ride around the park with their fancy dresses thinking they look cool… it’s quite an amazing, hilarious view. I believe this is the best reward possible. It made all of the hard work worth it.