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legal immigratiom

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by donegal shooter, Mar 16, 2008.

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  1. donegal shooter

    donegal shooter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    81
    With all the comments about illegal immigration it's good to hear how the system is supposed to work.
    This is a story in today's local paper.I am left with a question,if you give everything to those in need,how do you create a hunger to get ahead?

    Slainte,
    Scott




    March 16. 2008 3:10AM

    Irish couple live the dream

    ‘We came over here to get ahead’

    By Lisa D. Welsh TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


    WORCESTER— In the pre-St. Patrick’s Day rush Friday, Robert A. and Joan M. Culbert glided between a line of customers and a constant stream of phone calls at their Emerald Meats Butcher Shop and Deli on Chandler Street.

    The couple expected to sell 5,200 pounds of “Robert’s Own Gray Corned Beef” for the holiday and were already taking orders for Easter dinners.

    Emerald Meats, which in addition to the Culberts has five employees, celebrated its fourth anniversary Monday. This success has been hard-earned for the Culberts, who emigrated in 1989 from Ireland without knowing anyone in this country.

    “We are so busy, but sometimes we stop and look at how far we’ve come,” Mr. Culbert, 43, said in his Irish brogue. “We bought the building a year and a half ago. The first two years we rented. We can’t believe this.”

    “This is what America is about,” said Mrs. Culbert, 38, in her equally lilting accent.

    Growing up in Dublin, life wasn’t as good.

    “My whole life, the economy in Ireland was bad, but it just kept getting worse,” Mr. Culbert said. “I was a meat cutter there and I would get paid on Friday, pay my bills, and by Sunday it was all gone. There was no money for extras.”

    The couple met when Mrs. Culbert visited a neighborhood butcher shop where Mr. Culbert worked. She was 14 and he was 19. She thought he was cute and developed a crush on him, she said, but he didn’t take her seriously, even after she started working in the produce store next door when she was 16.

    “I was just a kid who grew up in the same neighborhood, but all the same, when I started working he knew it was me,” Mrs. Culbert said.

    They became friends, but didn’t start dating for two more years. Money was tight, so when they did date, they could go to the movies only after Mr. Culbert borrowed some cash from one of his four brothers.

    Mr. Culbert had submitted an application to move to America and, unbeknownst to him, Mrs. Culbert had been making her own plans.

    “There wasn’t any future in Ireland,” she said.

    It was three years before Mr. Culbert received his pre-approval and an invitation to discuss his plans at the American Embassy in Dublin. There wasn’t much time to look into where he should live and work in the United States. The local priest recommended he move to Boston, because there were a lot of Irish there.

    “The priest said, ‘Stick with your own. They will take care of you,’ ” recalled Mrs. Culbert.

    With the name of a nun and a church in Dorchester as his only contacts, Mr. Culbert received approval.

    “There we were, just the two of us, outside of the American Embassy, standing in a telephone box to call everyone,” she said. “We were both screaming and just so happy when all of a sudden, he stopped and asked me to marry him. We started yelling, ‘We’re going to America!’ ”

    In a twist of fate, or maybe it was the luck of the Irish, Mr. Culbert landed in Worcester instead of Dorchester after someone in their hometown of Ballyfermot told him about a friend who had moved here and was looking for a roommate. Arriving in Worcester on a Sunday, he walked to Fairway Beef the next day to look for a job.

    He was hired, but despite his years of training as a butcher they hired him as counter help.

    “That was the only job they had, but it didn’t matter,” he said. “You’ve got to start somewhere.”

    By the time his fiancée arrived three months later, Mr. Culbert had three jobs working at different meat markets. She got a job as a waitress after taking a week to get used to her new home.

    “There was no such thing as a bad tip because I was so happy to be here. I never looked at it that way,” Mrs. Culbert said. “You don’t get tips in Ireland, so I didn’t know that I was supposed to take the money left behind on the table until someone told me to. I thought, ‘This is great, all you have to do is work hard and you get cash.’ I just loved it.”

    The couple had planned to return to Ireland to get married, but after a month in America, they eloped.

    “I couldn’t travel while I was waiting for my green card to arrive, and I didn’t like the idea of just living with him,” Mrs. Culbert said.

    It was three years before they could go back to Ireland, but when they returned, the butcher with a full-time and two part-time jobs and the waitress who had never received a tip she didn’t like had saved enough to buy a three-decker in the city’s Greendale neighborhood.

    “We came over here to get ahead, so we worked very hard and saved our money,” Mrs. Culbert said.

    “It didn’t take us long to realize that it was better to be a landlord than to rent,” her husband added.

    A year later, in 1994, their son, Kevin, was born, followed by Brian in 1997. That was followed by the purchase of their second three-decker, this one on Deerfield Street. Daughter Sinead was born in 2002.

    The rental properties proved to be time-consuming and not as cost-effective as they had hoped, even when they did all the remodeling themselves, and they realized they were so busy that they had gotten off track.

    “We both worked hard, but with the rental property, we seemed to be putting in more than we were getting out of it,” Mrs. Culbert said.

    As Mr. Culbert marked the 10-year milestone as manager of Hadwen Park Market, the opportunity to open their own butcher shop arose when George’s Fruit closed.

    “I loved George’s Fruit market,” Mr. Culbert said. “From our home on Deerfield Street, we drove by it several times a day. I thought if we ever had the chance to get into that building that would be the ideal location. There is so much traffic that goes by.”

    To open the store, they sold one of the three-deckers and put all of their savings into the new venture.

    “It was absolutely frightening,” Mrs. Culbert said. “It felt just like immigrating all over again. But back then, it was just the two of us. Now we have three kids. But in the end we were more excited than nervous.”

    In the typical Irish manner, the Culberts won’t divulge what happened next, but it was not good. They will only say, “It looked like we were going to lose everything we had worked for.” Despite the setback, whatever it was, Emerald Meats Butcher Shop and Deli opened on March 10, 2004, and sold 1,000 pounds of corned beef in the first week.

    Mrs. Culbert continued working at O’Connor’s Restaurant & Bar in West Boylston for several more months because, after 15 years, it had become her second home, she said. “The owners, Brendan and Claire O’Connor, are also Irish immigrants. They were like a brother and sister to me.”

    Now the Culberts visit Ireland regularly, which gives Kevin, Brian and Sinead an opportunity see how far their parents have come.

    “They’ve seen where we were born and where we worked,” Mrs. Culbert said. “Our children have had more opportunities than we had. We don’t want to go on about it, but we constantly tell them that they should appreciate what they have, because we do.”

    A year after opening Emerald Meats, the Culberts were able to sell the Deerfield Street three-decker and purchase their first single-family home, off Flagg Street. They both work in the store daily, doing paperwork on Mondays when the store is closed and serving customers the rest of the week, but they have made time for long weekends away to the Cape. In the summer, they commute to Worcester from their campsite at Pine Acres in Oakham.

    “Isn’t that mad, the way things go?” said Mr. Culbert, adding that they would not have achieved such success in Ireland. “If you put your mind to something here, if you work real hard, you can get ahead.”

    Contact Lisa D. Welsh by e-mail at lwelsh@telegram.com


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