The Ink Well Prompt #59: THE THREE IMMIGRANTS



After the Second World War, Europe was devastated. Its inhabitants tried to survive as best they could. City dwellers had it harder; those who lived in the countryside were assured of food. There they grew cereals and different vegetables. They also had some cows that provided milk and they could make cheese. Pigs and chickens were also part of the daily life. Pigs are used for everything, so it was a very appreciated animal. In order to have meat throughout the year, families made their own sausages. Some families also had looms in the house, where women wove clothes to wear in bed to combat the cold. Oh! the cold, that inclement and merciless being. Not to mention the rain.... Unfortunately, many villagers did not have electricity, so they only heated themselves with the wood that the men cut from nearby trees.....

For this reason, Giuseppe Martinelli, a resident of Sicily, Italy, decided to emigrate with his family to Venezuela in 1950, a country that sheltered many immigrants. Giuseppe, an electrical technician, thought he had arrived in paradise when he arrived in the host country.

Two years later he commented to his wife, Anna:

-The job at the electric company earns me a great salary. Besides, with the additional work I do, we will save money for our return to Italy.

Anna discreetly gives him her opinion:

  • Here everything is easier to forge the future of our children Edoardo, 17, and Gina, 15, think about it-.

Meanwhile, the futuristic Edoardo, who had overheard the conversation, had already decided his fate:

-Dad, I've been using my bicycle to run different errands and, with that money, I plan to start a business. I have seen that there is no pasta factory here. There are many fellow countrymen who would buy pasta from us to make their daily meals.-

-Who put those things in your head?- asks Anna.

-Nobody. I have seen how the Portuguese, Joao Da Silva, set up the Madeira Bakery. The whole family works there. With what they've earned they've already started making their own house, and us? Still nothing....-

-That's true. I would like to have my own house,- intervenes the romantic and novelistic Gina.

-We'll have it, but we'll have to wait a little longer,- answers Giuseppe to reassure them.

Joao arrived with his family, from his beloved island, Madeira, also in 1950. He could only read and write but worked day and night. Such was his eagerness that he never rested. His goal was clear: to leave a legacy for his family.

One day the regular Spanish buyer, Francisco Gómez, came into the bakery. There they were making bread that was well baked and toasted, just the way he liked it.

-Good morning! You came earlier today, that's good. I have to tell you about a future business where we can be partners, please sit down, I invite you to have coffee with me,- Joao tells him as he enters.

Francisco, insecure and nostalgic, arrived in Venezuela in March 1948 with only his clothes and a suitcase. He was unjustly imprisoned for a year, after the Spanish Civil War, for unfounded comments. His innocence was proven and he was released, but that fact marked his destiny .... nobody would give him a job. This frustrated him greatly. His family, friends and neighbors decided to raise money so that he could leave his native Galicia.

Francisco, although he spoke Spanish, few understood him. He mixed Spanish with words from his dialect, Galician, and with his characteristic accent ..... only Joao understood him perfectly. That's why he felt good in their company.

With the aroma of bread fresh from the oven, which transports him to his homeland, Francisco accepts the invitation .....

-They offered me to import Spanish sausages. The deal is that some fellow countrymen lend us money. After we get the sausages we have a month to pay back the money. I've already done the math. With the sales we pay off the loan and we have money left to keep going. Then we can take off on our own. You are a good merchant. I have heard the excellent comments from the women who buy merchandise from you at the market. They trust you and the prices you give them. What do you think,- Joao says enthusiastically.

Francisco, a good-looking gentleman who is highly sought after by the female public, can't get over his astonishment. .....

Although he was single and had not started a family of his own, he was committed to paying back the money he borrowed in Spain. Immediately a shiver runs through his body, it is the fear of taking a risk. Besides, that pessimism inherited from his paternal grandfather, Joaquín, unconsciously haunts him wherever he goes..... Without thinking too much, he answers him:

-And to whom is it sold? The natives don't even know that kind of food and, I guess, they won't like it.-

-Stop the pessimism. The Italian, Spanish and Portuguese colonies would love to buy these products. Cheer up,- Joao replies.

-No, I'd better continue selling my products in the market for sure,- he replies as he thanks him and leaves the store.

Joao, although he did not manage to convince Francisco, decided to take a chance. ......

Five years passed. Joao opened another bakery, Madeira II, which was run by his son Manuel, who did not want to study. He decided to continue with the family business and inwardly thought .....

-I'm not going to waste time studying. I have met many people in the bakery. Here, in this country, what makes money is business. Besides, my sister Maria doesn't want to work with me. She has a very good hand at sewing. She wants to be famous making dresses for brides. I think she will make it, although my parents don't agree with her; they prefer to marry her to a good man. I plan to help my sister achieve her destiny. Everyone has a place in life. She is talented.....-

At that moment, Edoardo arrived at the newly opened bakery, and when he saw the excellent sausages, he exclaimed,:

-Wonderful. This area needed a business like this.

The two young men talk to each other and Edoardo comments:

-I took the risk even though my parents didn't agree. They gave me a loan and with that I started making Italian style pasta, Pastas Martinelli. By the way, what do you know about the Spaniard?-

-Francisco married a Spaniard. He has a beautiful little girl and still works at the market twice a week. The rest of the time he works in the grocery store and, on weekends, he drives a cart; he brings and takes people who are well off and pays him well. He works too much, he has almost no time for anything.... It's a pity he wasn't a partner with us, he would be much better off.-

Manuel was always in love, silently, with Gina. A love he kept secret.... Both, of the same age, were neighbors in their adolescence. His parents wanted him to marry a Portuguese woman to keep the customs. Timidly and as if he didn't care much about the matter, he asks

-What about your sister?-

-She ran away from home with a Venezuelan and without getting married. My parents were very upset, they didn't want to know anything about her. Imagine the scandal that ensued. I try to see her every week ..... I know she feels bad, but that was her decision.-

The romantic Gina fell in love with a gentleman 20 years older than her, who did not know how to value her because he did not understand her ways. Now she is paying the consequences of that mistake.

Although the three immigrants prospered economically in Venezuela, the decisions they made marked the destiny of each of their families, in some cases for the better; while others were ruined by not being sincere and supporting each other or by staying in a comfort zone, without risking new adventures.

The three immigrants by María del Carmen Sánchez Copyright © 2022

Translated with (free version)

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