“Coming to America”

Axel Larsen was my dad’s mother’s brother. He was born in Denmark on December 12, 1880. Around the year 1905, Axel decided he wanted to come to America. So he packed a couple of suitcases, bid his family adieu and headed on down to the docks of Copenhagen. What happened next is conjecture. But based on my father’s recollection, Axel declared that he wanted to go to “America” and was directed to ships parked in the harbor. America.

Axel boarded a ship and took off. For America. It was a five to six day crossing at that time. And then there was land off in the distance. I suspect Axel was excited, emotional, scared – and dealing with a constellation of emotions as the land drew closer. Soon the ship began moving down a narrowing corridor of water until at last the ship docked. In America. . . .

As Axel gathered his things and debarked the ship – he noticed that people were speaking Spanish. And soon it became apparent that the ship – and he – had landed in South America. Indeed the ship had docked in Buenos Aires – the capital of Argentina. I have no clue as to why – or how – this happened other than a major error on communication of destination.

We know that Axel did not have enough money at the time to immediately set sail for North America. So he got a job – working as a gaucho in a nearby area. He stayed in Argentina until he saved enough to sail – North. . . .

Axel ended up in Chicago and married Anna – who I wrote about on October 15, 2022 (“3 Star Hennessy”). From my earliest days, to me they were Grandma and Grandpa Larsen. Grandpa Larsen passed away in 1969. One regret I have is that I never asked any questions about his special time in South America. The recollections recounted here are based on memories shared by my father. I wish he’d kept a diary. . . . .