Life is not fair, for those who

come from the old country.

I can barely remember my father

but they say he was a fine musician,

a beautifully accomplished violinist.

Somehow he ended up in the barn,

at 3 a.m., where he played one last

strain of the “Ave Maria,” then put

his shotgun at his feet, where he

could operate the trigger with his

big toe, and BAM! he was gone.

They buried him at the crossroads

because suicides are not allowed

in the Catholic cemetery. My mother

and brothers did the best they could.

I tried to help them, becoming a

hired girl to one of the best families

in town. I thought the man who made

promises to marry me would help my

family, but he only made me pregnant

and left me, all alone in Omaha. This

good man, my husband, has given me

thirteen children, fourteen all together.

He raised my first child as his own, like

Joseph in the manger. All are in the book,

Leo the most famous. They called me Toni

in real life, but my literary name has more

pizazz than her book that won the Pulitzer Prize.

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