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Written By: Belle Morris
June 23, 2014
A hug. A kiss. Goodbye.
Beneath my feet, my homeland's dirt. This is the last night to feel its grit.
Celebration? Jubilation? Will the new world actually give these things?
Darkening skies, the glowing moon rises. What do the stars look like in America?
Earning for myself, I will be my own man, in a world of freedom.
Future generations will remember me, I hope, walking out of their houses, in those big cities, where the streets are gold.
"Guard my memories, never let them fade," I say, "of my real home."
Heaven forbid, I forget my Italy!
Italy, with its painted sunsets, and bakeries, and fields, and family......
"Join me in America!" papa wrote, I can hear his deep voice with every glance at his letter.
"Kind people will be there," mama wishes, "friends."
Leaving with the dawn, to a new land, new language, new life.
Mama holds my sleeping brother tight, for he is only 2, and will have no memory of his homeland, he will be a real American boy.
Not like me.
Only myself will remember nonna's kisses and hugs, and nonno's proud orchards.
Perhaps it is for the better, my brothers and sisters will be saved from the heartache.
Quiet spring evenings, strolling through the piazza.
Racing sticks in the crisp, clear streams with cousins.
Staring at the stars, in their cloudless beauty.
Tears, stop rolling down my cheeks! I am strong, like papa, he never misses Italy.
Up to the ship, then down, below to cheap steerage. Is this my gateway to the great land of riches?
Vicious waves can not keep even a simple pizzelle down.
Will the American language be easy to learn? Or will I be a fool?
Xenophobic, a word in my English dictionary. Fear of foreigners, does that mean me?
Yesterday, I sat with my zia and ate her macaroni, today I eat bland stew and crackers.
Ziti, it is macaroni in Italian, but pasta in America. If a food can change, will I as well?
1892, aboard the USS Delaware Beniamino Piccoli