Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Discoveries/The Blue Kimono
One of my earliest memories of my Aunt Kay was a photograph of her, her back to the camera, arms outstretched in a doorway as she looked over her shoulder. She was wearing the most exotic outfit I'd ever seen in my Italian-American childhood--an elaborately embroidered kimono, with flowers and birds spilling across the back and down the elegant sleeves that hung from her graceful arms.
That photograph always intrigued me, and it was only much later that I discovered where it had been taken--the island of Trinidad, a long way from the Yonkers neighborhood where Kay, my mother and their sisters and brothers had grown up. She had sailed there to marry my Uncle Joe, who was building the naval airbase at Chaguaramas.
That kimono, and the stories it led to, became the opening scene of my new novel, Across the Table.