To paraphrase Paul Simon, the days of miracle and wonder are upon us. This indeed is a long-distance call. in my browser, I can read Al Jazeera in English, look at the photograph of an armless child soldier from the Congo, read the news from Bangladesh, and enjoy Lou’s Labyrinth. I don’t know anything about sewing clothes, or doing nails, but this young woman from the UK seems to be enjoying her life.
My mom was a refugee who was moved to England from Hungary to escape the bombings that seem to follow her across Europe. Many children were sent to live with families in the British countryside and avoid those falling bombs. I can only imagine how terrified my mother must’ve been, in a strange country, far from her family, surrounded by people who did not speak Hungarian. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must’ve been to the people of England never to know when and where the bombs were going to fall.
The prayer of every rebel gaining block after block on the streets of Syria is the same, on this Good Friday, as were the prayers of the parents in the bomb shelters in London, Berlin, and Budapest.
On October 7, 1940, 7:30 PM, Maggie Simone prayed that someday her child, or mebbe even her grandchild could spend the afternoon quietly doing her nails aboveground, and that someday she would meet someone, fall in love, and marry him, and their children would know nothing of Nazis and sirens. Some bright future without tin hats and white hot light awaited when history got around to setting things straight.
On Saturday, August 19, 1910, Marguerite Cimanon was translating a document. Her English was good, much better than “The Old Man”‘s. He’d promised the Captain, the American, that he would translate and send these papers to him. She was anxious to see the World’s Fair. She was also anxious to please the Old Man. The Old Man, he of the charming smile and great moustache, he who, at twenty-seven, may never marry, she still held the hope that her efforts that afternoon would be rewarded.
When the last lines of the document had been translated, Marguerite set the pages of the document in a large brown envelope and addressed them to The Old Man’s friend,
A package, an English-Language translation of dull tome detailing the latest technology on the cultivation of Alfalfa carried such a dreamy destination, it made the poor girl sigh: Captain J.F. Jack, Belle Grove Plantation, Port Conway Virginia, United States of America.
She imagined flattening herself, translating herself to that idyllic, warm climate, to meet this Captain of the Belle Grove Plantation.
All of a sudden, that longing, that though, changed her reality. She was going to be somebody, and maybe she would be somebody on an alfalfa plantation in Virginia.
That evening, The Old Man didn’t return, of course. But Marguerite fastened her bonnet under her chin and headed for the Worlds Fair unaccompanied!!
Was it a trinket, like they say, that caused her to disappear? What had the inventor in the pavillion given her? Why, of all the eager faces watching the miracle of modern technology, did the pale, slim Russian choose her? Someone knows, but not this narrator.
See, that very night, the Russian man disappeared after his pavillion caught fire.
No one in Brussels, 1910, ever saw Marguerite again.
All things are connected,though space, through time, through a series of things we think of as coincidence.
In England, Lou sews, and in Virginia, they dig up a thimble.
And me, I do my fanfic thing and bring the bloggers together.
Yeah, I’m crazy.