Many people take trips. For my mother, she took one very long trip, and it ended with her reaching the three-bedroom house that Mother and Pop, my dad’s parents, called home. It was a lovely surprise for her, as she immediately felt at home. It was a snug little house with hardwood floors and family pictures on the walls. Pop helped her inside, as she was quite pregnant at the time, and they showed her bedroom.
She just wanted to go to bed, as her train trip to Boston had been long and tiring. The large firm bed was very comfortable, and she was asleep in no time. She woke up a few hours later and moved to the window to take in the view. Outside was the narrow side yard that separated the house from its neighbour. A few inches of snow had fallen, and it made her smile. It felt to her like a welcoming sign. Moving to the door, she stepped out into the narrow hallway and looked around.
Mother was in the kitchen. Pop had gone to the High School to check in with the principal. Over the course of the afternoon, she and Mother became better acquainted, and Mother showed her the house and kitchen, and the many modern conveniences that my mom had never seen before! They also started planning for the baby’s layette and more clothes for my mom, which she badly needed. She would eventually learn to sew and make some of her own clothes, and it helped her pass the time until my dad came home.
One day, Pop came home from school with quite the grin on his face. It turned out that news of my mom’s arrival had spread throughout the high school. She was as popular with the bobby-soxers, as was Frank Sinatra.
My mom was confused, totally. She had no idea. Who was Frank Sinatra? What was a bobby-soxer? Pop laughed, surprised by that, and he explained. She was quite amazed that schoolchildren should be so interested in just a war bride.
Suddenly, as if a page in a book turned, it was spring. There were colors everywhere, and Wisteria covered the porch, which reminded her of home, of her old home. She sat outside and read under the big oak trees in the front yard, and often there’d be some of the neighbor children waving to her or just standing there staring and giggling until their mothers called them home. My mom was very self-conscious, due to her poor English, and she never looked up at anybody because she wasn’t able to converse. For that reason, she stayed indoors most of the time. Every time, she thought, her English was good, someone would ask, “How do you like this neck of the woods?”
She was completely lost!
They went to the Congregational Church on Sundays and the minister introduced her during the service. At the coffee hour, the members, all of whom had many questions, surrounded her. Pop and she had an understanding; if she looked at him, it meant rescue me. It was during these times that she met many of my dad’s friends, and began to build friendships of her own.
Finally, in early May, they got a phone call from New York; my dad was back in the States, and he’d be home in ten days. They were all utterly happy, and, when he finally got home, my mom felt that her life was complete. She remembered what someone had once told her:
The world is round so we won’t be able to see what’s in store for us way down the road.
Her life was just starting, and she knew she had a lot to learn, but, whatever was down that road, she would be able to handle it with the help of her new family and friends.
Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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