Did Margaret Sanger Like Flowers?

a chapter from Americaa

Nancy, a single woman, as they call the spinsters in our easy day. Trimming a lilac hedge for Nancy. Some kitchen woodwork next, if this goes well.

Something burnt out about Nancy. A divorce, maybe. A weak spot for strong male egos, perhaps. A couple of those and gone is most of the best a woman comes with. And Nashville overflows with that genus.

She returned to her hometown two years back, having spent in Nashville her young woman’s prime. She was trying there for a vocal break. It didn’t come. She stayed on as a backup bird. She doesn’t talk about it, just drops a word or two. But that’s what I figure happened to Nancy. In Nashville, Tennessee.

Back home she found a job at Planned Parenthood. She doesn’t seem to count for much there, an errand girl. Not easy finding work in a small town.

The kitchen woodwork done, she brings up PP, would I fix for that outfit. A cautious proposal. Well, it’s PP, terminating pregnancies. Scraping life.

The Third Rail

a chapter from Americaa

Heyward Studio
My first piece in English was a novella about my childhood town. I wrote it in 1990, seven years after I had hit America. It got me invited to the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, for a writer residency.
Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town at MacDowell. I was now walking the streets of Grover’s Corners of the play. I first saw Our Town on Commie TV as a teen and never again, but I was easily replaying now from the memory the chirping of the kids in the play, the concerned voices of the parents, the politeness of the neighbors, the eerie life-longings of the denouement. After watching it just once at the early stage in life, this wholesome-as-much-as-life-affords-wholesome world had gotten imprinted in me like a prayer. A variation of a call to go.