Saturday, January 23, 2010

Conversation with Sal

I wrote the following in my Life-Bio Class at the Kent Library about a conversation I had with Sal on August 30, 2006....and I think its appropiate to remember it today with all the commentary about Port-au-Prince, Haiti....and the fact that I just remembered Sal had a birthday several days ago; he's now 68....and as soon as I post this, I will place a call to him.

"Sal called me this afternoon....and its still raining. Sal is my nephew, the son of Alfred, the youngest of my four brothers....and I am the only surviving aunt. Sal lives on Long Island and some time has passed since I last spoke to him. You just can't imagine how happy I was to hear his voice. 'Hello, Aunt Elvira, this is Sal.' After a few pleasantries, he asked: 'What mischief have you been up to?' 'Sal, how much time do you have.' "As much time as you want....and , guess what! I was the one that requested 'we call it a day', after we talked (or rather, I talked) for two hours and twenty-five minutes. Sal wanted to keep going, but 'Okay, Aunt Elvira, I will talk to you again real soon."

You may ask: Why did Sal want to continue talking after being on the phone so long. Well, we happened to be talking about the weather, and about the hurricane over Cuba and the Dominican Republic, and Haiti....and we were wondering what ever possessed Seeley (my granddaughter) to buy a Condo and some waterside property in the Dominican Republic, where it was so close to Haiti: such an impoverished and chaotic country. And, then, I very casually said: 'I wonder how our relatives are faring in Port-au-Prince.' And Sal, believing I was jesting: 'Ha! ha! Its a good thing we don't have any there.' 'What do you mean, Sal; maybe my generation of cousins is gone, but all their children are there.' I could sense the disbelief, but still laughing: 'Are you saying, Aunt Elvira, that there are Sperduto's in Haiti, lots of them.' 'Yes, the children of my male-cousins...Nick is one of them...and Gerardo, a doctor, would be Sperduto's, but the children of my female-cousins would probably have french names.

I won't go into that phase of my story here; it is rather a lenthy chapter in my biography. Sal, who is now 64 years old, knew absolutely nothing about the family in Haiti...about my Father's younger brother, Michaela-Arcangelo, a maker of shoes, who with his Italian blonde bride, left Italy in 1902 to migrate to Port-au-Prince Haiti. He was the first man to manufacture low-cost shoes in Haiti and made them available to the poor inhabitants. When his oldest daughter Concetta (pronounced con-che-ta) was seventeen, she was sent to live with my family in Brooklyn, New York in order to seek a husband of similar ethnicity, as there were very few available in Haiti.

Sal was so fascinated and intrigued by the facts I revealed. And it was the mere mention of the weather over Cuba and its neighbors that triggered my brain with memories long forgotten."

Just a reminder......The above was written by me on August 30, 2006. And now I shall call Sal and belatedly extend my best wishes for a happy and healthy 68th birthday and many more years.

1 comment:

  1. Elvira

    I sincerely hope that your relatives have managed to stay safe in the terrible catastrophe that has befallen Haiti.