Finding America

Inspiration No. 1

The king was working in the garden. He seemed very glad to see me. We walked through the garden. This is the queen, he said. She was clipping a rose bush. Oh how do you do, she said. We sat down at a table under a big tree and the king ordered whiskey and soda. We have good whiskey anyway, he said. The revolutionary committee, he told me, would not allow him to go outside the palace grounds…
It was very jolly. We talked for a long time. Like all Greeks he wanted to go to America.

Inspiration No. 2

Let us be lovers.  We’ll marry our fortunes together.
Giuseppe and Anna boarded the steamship that was departing Marsala for New York City.

I’ve got some real estate here in my bag.
Giuseppe thought it would bring them good fortune if he carried a small pouch of that rich Sicilian soil in his coat pocket. He would sprinkle it over their own garden one day.

So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies.
Anna packed two sandwiches, one for each of them, thick slices of peppered salami and hard cheese between two pieces of crusty bread.

And walked off to look for America.
The two of them set sail for a new life together in a new land.

Inspiration No. 3

I like to be in America.
Giuseppe and Anna stepped on to the platform, smiled broadly at each other and climbed into the waiting train coach.

Okay by me in America.
Anna hummed an old song as she kneaded bread dough in their simple kitchen, while Giuseppe sprinkled his pouch of Sicilian soil around the tomato plants in their garden.

Everything free in America.
They were grateful to have left their homeland just before the rise of fascism.

For a small fee in America.
But the guilt of leaving their families behind occasionally would hover over them like darkened clouds.

To be continued.  Again and again…

*Inspiration No. 1:  Excerpt From:  L’Envoi by Ernest Hemingway.  “The Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.” Simon & Schuster, 2002.

*Inspiration No. 2:  America by Simon and Garfunkel.  1968.

*Inspiration No. 3:  America by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim (from “West Side Story”).  1957.

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