The time peroid for the story was during the 1920's, the setting occured in various places. The story began in Russia where Rifka lived. Her family decided to leave Russia and take a train to Poland where they got sick with typhus and were stuck there for weeks.
In Warsaw, Poland Rifka is told that she has a skin disease called ringworm and she cannot go to America. Her family leaves her behind to get treament in Belgium.
In Belgium Rifka gets treatment for her ringworm, even though it takes a year she gets better. After she gets better the doctors let her go on a boat to America.
After crossing the ocean on a ship Rifka gets on Ellis Island. Ellis Island is where immigrants comming to America are checked for diseases, for deformaties, and overall physical well being. New Immigrants mental capabilities were also checked. Rifka is not let into America because her hair is not growing, so she is detained on the island for months. When Rifka's hair starts to grow back they let her into America to live with her family.