Greek Bustards

(In the scene there are chairs draped with sheets and a chest A messy space like an attic or storage. In the background of the scene, behind the main couch is a large frame. An old man, actor sitting in a chair dressed in good clothes.He hasa  hat and mustache … motionless and expressionless into a recess in the frame around which makes it look like a large frame, like a picture. tent comes in a girl, who is talking on her cell phone)
Girl: … so long staring at me and did the first move and I talked to me. Who  What Irene? The child in the cafeteria …. yes yes the tawny. Yesterday approached me and asked if I wanted to go for a coffee.He is student  … basically finishes Law School. Yes, but I do not know … is Albanian. Lisian is his name …. not raised here. What do you mean what would I do? Are you kidding? Of course there is no way to go out with him. Look as I could … so polite, I gave him my phone number  … do you think that I will get in troubles ? What do you mean? O h my God…What would people say if I start to walk with an Albanian?What our friends will say and how will I introduce him to them…What am I suppose to say? Guys is he Lisieux? Do not even think about it …  some will say: she is so desperate that she dated with  Albanians’. Yes, yes, Maria will say that. Well I will not pick up the phone …. took me  a while ago and hadn’t answer. I hope he gets the» message». What to say, however; A nice man came up to me and he was Albanian. Irene, I can not think of anything … not to bloat and you with Albanian bustard, I have to clean the attic. What attic Irene? Did not I tell that I’m moving in the attic with the huge photo of my grandfather to have quiet in reading? Come on Come on, because this was the deal with my mother … if I want the attic I should clean it. Imagine how the Albanian would say. ‘You must clein de attic’. Well, stop me cause I become bad. I’ll see you later … if I get out alive from this dust here! Many kisses! Yes … yes …Bye!
(The girl begins to settle things lying around. Takes the chest and puts forward the scene. Opens it and pulls out through some old books. Leafing through for a while and leave them aside. Caught in the hands of a notebook. She is dusting off the dust and begins to read)
Girl: Oh Grandpa … my beloved grandpa ..
(Photo’s light is changing and the property person begins to speak.)
Grandfather: Over here there weren’t jobs. Poverty and hunger and we had to go to the army too.  I had been a soldier for seven years, and when I came back they called me again. So I decided to leave. I was of the clandestine and the fear of being caught with was bigger.
(Grandfather rises from his chair and walks forward. Leaves the frame and two descending stairs hidden by a couch comes on stage. Girl’s look remains committed to the text reads.)
On the boat we were piled on top of one another. Every afternoon came an Italian sailor, who rang a bell and we gathered to eat. A month spent in the boat until we reach the dream … the promissed land. There was difficult. We stuck lice and then get sick. One sticked each other and mice were so many  that we were thinking that were more than us. The ship had specific parts that allowed us to go. We shouldn’t bother the travellers of the first class. We did not care though. We had patience. In America will be  welcomed  …. we would have a better life. When they told us  that we arrived and  had gathered to see the harbor from far.A Greek  showed with his finger something. It was the statue of liberty. I was staring at it much time. It was huge … gave you a confidence that there are a lot of  money for people to spare  after wasting in such statues … As in Greece the past. We went down to the port of Ellis Island. We were again packed the few belongings together holding our hand, but we do not care. From the port they went us to a large building. There were people of all countries, no matter what breed you like the man you saw. We were all scared but also happy. Us, the Italians and the Spanishes were separated  from everyone else. There was a disease of the eye and only the Mediteraneans had it. Those who were to suffer, turned back. Hoped only to keep us. I remember a young man from Crete, tall, brave» had broken in two pieces» and begged them to let him enter the country. He drove back …. DISEASES. Those who passed their medical exam and were healthy went for questioning in a small office. They asked us several questions. Why we came, why we chose America. If you had relatives who had come earlier than, you were lucky. In interrogated two or three times and then gave you the passport to enter the country. I stayed three weeks in Ellis Island.Me interrogated every  day because I looked suspicious. One day an officer suddenly came to me and said ‘You are free’ and I asked for a cloth. I took off my belt and knife, I carved my initials and I gave it. Proof that I get myself off the island of fear and tears. Now I was ready to live the dream.
(Ringing mobile girlfriend. Narrative stops as she stops  reading the diary and looking for a while and then continues the narrative when the girl begins to read it again.)
  In New York I went to an office to help me finding a job. There I changed my name. So from Sotiris I became Sam. I could find easier a job if they couldn’t understand that I am a Greek. I found a job in a large building which they built then. Empire State I think it was called. And the salary …
(You hear a voice that interrupts the speech of grandfather and says: Americans nine dollars per day, Italians and Russians six dollars per day, Greeks three dollars per day the speech continues.)
We do not be appreciated  neither from  Americans nor from the other folks, that’s why didn’t talk to us a lot. The chose Greeks  only because we’re cheap and we did everything. We were called traitors why  we had been paid from big bosses to break strikes … we couldn’t refuse. We had families back at home and had to send them money. I hadn’t stay much in New York. I heard about a factory in Utah which it derived carbon. When I went to get train ticket, the cashier asked me where I was from. Greek told her and she gave me the ticket very carefully not to touch her like I was a leper. Throughout the trip I did not speak, not to understand me.  … I acted as a dumb. Better to be thought that I was retarded despite that I was Greek. They could take me  under the train or be lynched. They had done a lot od bad things to Greeks. In the factory there were other Greeks. Our post was on mining … spent twelve hours under the earth, in the dust and the Salar was half of what an American. In order to cope with many house rents. I remember that I rented with a guy from Thessaloniki and one of Sparta. The landlord had demanded to give him money at the beginning of each month for fear of the charge. So it was then. We Greeks were thieves. Every ten days he entered in our house and checked for illegal things. We had the reputation for dealing in drugs, illegal weapons … Often when they got home from work saw written on the door ‘Greek bustards’ … … Greek Bustards.They called us in this way  t because we took their jobs and were responsible for all their woes. They come and surveys in newspapers saying that we were the first in all kinds of crimes, rape, robbery, drugs, weapons by far the Russians, Italians, Spaniards. When passing an American girl in front of  us, we had to lowew our head and do not look her because we will be accused of harassment. There were shops that we weren’t  accepted. There were outside signs saying ‘Only white Americans. No rats, no Greeks’. I do not remember when things began to change for the better. Maybe cause of Louis Tika … maybe then realized that we had our history that we were people like them. But it was too late … our dream was now to go back at home … But in which home? In which country?  In America we were  Greeks and in Greece … Americans. Which country?
(The words of his grandfather off with light. Girl browse the calendar for a while. Turns out her cell phone and calls.)
Girl: Hey Lisian it’s me Joanna . What are you doing?Me? I am fine. Thanks. Sorry for not responding before, but I had a job. (Little chuckle and laugh.)
Your mom has right saying that  dork neber  ends, but do not need to laugh at her.You will help her learn more correctly the lnguage. What movie is it? Yes I would love to watch it. Do you want to meet me at nine outside the mall? Ok … I’ have to go now … dork is waiting for me!


Δημοσιεύθηκε από

Anastasia Thanasoula

Storyteller..Agriculturist.. Greek American..

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