Page 109 - November 2020
P. 109

109
                      Litterateur
                                                                                       November 2020





                        An inconvenient guest – A Rude Awakening



                                                    Josephine Strand




                 Josephine  Strand  is  a  recreational  writer
                 currently working on her debut romance novel.
                 When not absorbed in the latest gripping page-
                 turner, she loves to cook and enjoys long nature
                 walks.  She  has  lived  parts  of  her  life  in  Italy,
                 South  Africa,  and  presently  lives  in  the  United
                 States. Her travels between the three continents
                 have strengthened her love for the sea and the

                 outdoors.

               I was seven years old when my mother, my younger brother and I left Italy to join
               my father in South Africa. He had left a year earlier for Johannesburg to search for
               work so he could provide a better life for our family. That he should take this drastic
               step right in the middle of Italy’s economic boom of the early 1960s was ironically
               irrelevant, as life for the majority of Italian southerners was tough even then. While
               most  of  our  relatives  had  moved  up  north,  my  father  followed  the  lead  of  many
               European immigrants, allured by the prospect of endless job opportunities and the
               exotic appeal of a flourishing African country, where skilled labor was very much in
               demand.


               Amidst  tears,  hugs  and  demands  for  periodic  reports  of  the  legendary  wildlife
               allegedly roaming South Africa’s streets, one of my relatives presented me with an
               African  doll.    It  had  a  colorful  straw  skirt,  tight  black  curls  and  a  shiny  ebony

               complexion. It was the most beautiful, unusual doll I had ever seen. The only other
               one I had ever owned—named Carlo after our neighbors’ son—had pen marks all
               over its face, and its beautiful blue eyes had been poked out, courtesy of my three-
               year-old  brother.  Its  once-rosy  cheeks  had  turned  a  sickly  white  from  all  the
               vigorous  scrubbings  I  had  given  it  to  get  the  marks  off.  I  vowed  my  African  doll
               would never fall into the destructive hands of my young sibling, so I tucked it away
               on the bottom of a suitcase and didn’t take it out until our arrival in the new country.
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