Land of Opportunity

lucy-fridkin

Photo prompt courtesy of Lucy Fridkin

“Look, Salvatore.  New York. New beginnings for us.”

Salvatore grasped Mama’s eager, outstretched hand. Here he would invest the nugget of greatness he knew was within him and make his mark. He wouldn’t shrivel and stoop, lungs destroyed like Papa’s, in the sulphur mines.

Already, at nine, Sal knew what he needed: skilled teachers, opportunities.

Shepherded down the gangplank with his brothers and sisters, Sal felt the weight of his good fortune, his pockets heavy with assets. He’d been lucky during the voyage. He’d gathered rich pickings in carelessly concealed trinkets and cash. There’d be a market in New York.

*****

I’m contributing some historical fiction to Friday Fictioneers this week. I’m not sure why my thoughts flew so swiftly to this particular Sicilian immigrant family arriving in the land of opportunity, but Salvatore certainly did leave his mark, in his own way.

You’ll find more information here.

And you’ll find more 100 word stories in response to this week’s prompt here. Thanks once again to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers.  

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31 thoughts on “Land of Opportunity

  1. Sadly not all who find a new life in a new country, add to that countries well being. I liked that you posted a link to historical data, for I usually find snippets of history interesting. I must learn how to post such links

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    • It’s the dark side of the immigration story, isn’t it? It’s quite simple to post links – just copy the address of the article, highlight a word or two in your post to be the link and paste the copied address into the link attachment spot. Thanks for your comment, Michael.

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  2. Young Sal learned fast, and America was ripe for the picking. I followed the link and was not aware that he cut a deal with the government during WWII. It’s always nice to learn something new.

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    • That was fascinating to read, I agree. I wonder how much assistance he really gave – I can’t see any evidence of patriotism or goodwill in his character. But a Wikipedia article doesn’t tell the whole story, of course.

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  3. Loved the line “Here he would invest the nugget of greatness he knew was within him and make his mark.” I guess we all have to be good at something.

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  4. Ah-HA! You have wandered into Rochelle Territory. Very good! I’m sure old Sal, if you patted him on the back all the silverware from the ship would fall out.

    Ship’s ahoy!

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    • Thanks, Kent. Yes, Rochelle’s work is an inspiration. I love how she writes about historical characters, especially the less famous ones. I don’t know that Salvatore inspires much admiration, however, except perhaps for his determination to succeed. What a pity he wasn’t driven by more noble aspirations.

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  5. I liked this story based on history, Margaret. My dad was also born in 1897 in the U.S. He remembered what was going on in those years and used to tell me stories from then. It was in all the papers at the time. He said some guys came and asked him if he’d let them make alcoholic drink in his basement. He said “No” of course. I was told by a nice italian woman that as long as you didn’t become obligated to the mob you were safe. Once you became connected that was it. You were their’s. He and I went to see “The Godfather” and “Bonnie and Clyde”. —- Suzanne

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    • What a fascinating family story you have, Suzanne. It must have been a frightening time for people who just wanted to live a quiet life. And when money was tight it must have been very tempting for people to give in to mob related schemes if it offered them an income. Thanks for commenting. Sorry for the late reply.

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