Friday, 3 August 2012
Author Spotlight - Excerpt from: Guilia Goes to War
Anna Maria DeBartolo shook her graying head as she marched up and down in the small space in front of the kitchen sink. "I am a loyal American. We have a Victory Garden. I send my cans to the surplus drive." With the wooden spoon she held in her hand, she gestured toward the front of the house and the dining room window facing Main Street and continued, "I have two blue stars in the window -- both of your brothers are serving or did you forget, Giulia? We are with the war effort so you working here, in your Papa's store, is helping the war effort."
With each word, Mama's voice got louder and louder, almost drowning out the music
signaling the ending moments of the Stella Dallas radio program.
Giulia, her daughter, ran a hand over her own dark hair. She hoped no one was walking
past the house. Whenever Mama shouted, Giulia worried the neighbors would hear her through the open windows. A light breeze ruffled the kitchen curtains, but did nothing to cool down her mother. Giulia tried to keep her own voice calm, even, and respectful as she answered. She wanted to be rational and build a good case for leaving Avocatown to work for the war effort in Pittsburgh or Washington, DC.
"Mama, I don't do anything that really matters at the store. Nothing I do is anything you and Papa couldn't do without me. They need people in the offices and factories in Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Most of my high school friends, almost the entire class of 1942 left right after graduation and I could live with some of them in either city."
"No! E una disgrazia!"
As soon as her mother switched completely to Italian, Giulia knew that her logical
argument had not worked. When Mama got really upset, her voice became more and more heavily accented, as well as louder. At the peak of stubborn insistence, Mama switched entirely from English to her native Italian. Papa was the same way, although his fuse was shorter, so his timeline from hot and heavily accented English to full Italian was much quicker.
"Mama, it is not a disgrace to live with other girls in Washington or Pittsburgh if I am living there to help the war effort. Besides, I would only live with girls whose parents you know."
So, the story starts out with Giulia and her mother clashing over the modern world that Giulia wants to be a part of and the old world that is all her mother knows. The mother-daughter battle is a "war" most of us understand and many of us have experienced! The spies and boys come later!
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