Saturday, September 29, 2012

7 Billion Amazing Stories in This World

image from google

At dVerse Poets Pub, Brian told us about a book he loves titled 6 Billion Others, a book of peoples' faces, with a few lines about their amazing stories. Now there is an updated version titled 7 Billion Others. Brian says "I love people". I love people too, and this is a topic that has always fascinated me: how every single person has the most amazing story. If we tried to write peoples'  stories as fiction, editors would scoff and say they weren't believable. Because real life is often - even usually -  more astounding than anything a fiction writer could think up. I know my life certainly has been!

He asked us to tell the story of someone we have seen or observed....I thought of this elderly couple, now dead, whose house I used to clean in their final months. When she told me this story, it knocked me OUT!



She sat in her chair by the window all day.
Her husband lay in his bed.
The house smelled of decay, 
dryness, dust, and mothballs.
It smelled of the years
they had lived in that house,
where life had once been so lively,
but where silence now 
oppressively ruled
the empty hours.

The drapes stayed closed
all day.
She listened to the ticking
of the clock,
that moved her through the hours
left to her: breakfast,
lunch, dinner, bedtime.
Day after day,
no one ever came.

But one day, out of the blue,
when she was remembering,
she told her cleaning woman
a little bit about wartime in Italy.

"We had nothing to eat.
The boys were teenagers, 
thin and famished.
I would work all day,
hard work,
in exchange for
two slices of bread.
And, if we had two slices of bread,
we cut small squares for each of us, 
and left most of it for the boys.
They were always hungry.

My sister's husband
had been captured by the enemy.
He had disappeared 
and she didn't know
if he was alive or dead.

While he was gone,
she had a daughter
he did not know about,
for he was disappeared
before she knew
a child was coming.

One day the phone rang
and it was finally him,
        -alive!-
calling from the prison camp,
where he had just been liberated.
She heard his voice on the phone
and her first words, 
in a flood of tears, were:
'Vincenzio, you have a daughter!
She is five years old! We have a daughter!'
She had waited five long years 
to be able to tell him
that he had a child.

When the war ended,
we all moved to Canada.
We had had enough of pain, 
of terror, of bombs, of hunger.

Here, we found peace.
We made a life.
We raised our children.

But I will never forget
that phone call, 
after five long years,
and my sister saying,
'Vincenzio,
we have a daughter!'"

24 comments:

  1. What a story Sherry ~ I am just happy that the whole family reunited at the end ~ But an empty decaying house is sad to see still ~ In my older age, I want to keep the house lively with grandchildren ~

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  2. wow....it is hard to imagine...this is war though....can you imagine him and the thoughts of how much he missed...and how precious each moment would have been to him...thi sis really cool sherry....made me smile....

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  3. what a hard life too...the cutting up of the bread into little squares just to survive...i wonder at our society now and how they would make it in similar conditions you know...

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  4. oh wow..what a moving story...can't even imagine how this must be..such a hard life...waiting so long to be able to tell him that he's a father - oh and how must have been for him to hear this after so many years.. glad they were able to find a better life but sad on being in this house with curtains closed all day...made my heart ache..

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  5. This is a great story and reminder of how good we have it. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  6. The cutting of the bread was certainly very humbling! We go without our computer connection for any length of time and we feel as if there is no life! What a contrast! Great story!

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  7. Such a moving narration Sherry! It's a miracle anyone can live through a war! A happy ending in Canada but old age can be a gamble. In fact more of uncertainties apparently! Nicely Ma'am!

    Hank

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  8. Very moving. So far out of the experience of most of us, but so skilfully told that I felt I could at least get within touching distance.

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  9. Awww.... the evil that is war. I'm so glad she had that happy memory. You told a lovely tale Sherry. There is nothing nice about getting old once we lose our independence, is there?

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  10. Sherry, what a great story. Interesting how that lady could maintain a memory of happiness for her sister, in spite of the hardship she and her family endured. It's always nice to hear stories about the resilience of the human spirit.

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  11. A lovely moving story Sherry. Thank you for sharing it.

    Anna :o]

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  12. This made me cry. We all want peace and so often our circumstances deprive us of it. Beautifully done.

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  13. What a beautiful and poignant story, Sherry. You're right; everyone has an amazing story to tell, if we just listen.

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  14. I've met a few people who lived like this. My wife' grandfather was on the lam from the Germans in WW2. He knew this hunger.

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  15. So very, very well told! You also put up one of my favorite photos of all time.

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  16. Such a moving tale ... well done !!!

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  17. This was so touching~ I am so glad this story was shared and that the cleaning lady took the time to listen to the magic of her memories~ ;D Thank you!!!

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  18. Yes life when survive meant more then not being able to find a Starbucks!

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  19. oh Sherry...this is a wonderful story... and by pure Grace there are many others like it. Beautifully, compassionately written.

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  20. A story both heart-wrenching and edifying. You told it well, Sherry.

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  21. How sad to live out your last days alone, but what an incredible story she had to share with you. Thanks for sharing it.

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  22. Such a lovely recall, Sherry. Of course, there were also war babies whose math of months didn't add up. They were often "left on the doorstep," ha ha. Famous old vaudeville line: Sailor comes home after two years at sea; wife has three-month old son. He asks her where it came from and she sang, 'Benny's From Heaven'! Love, Amy

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  23. i know how much it meant to my mother to have anyone listen to her stories in her last few years. i'm sure she appreciated you listening.

    beautifully told, Sherry!

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!