A Long Pitch Home
"When the plane finally lifts us into the air, I realize I never
sent Baba a kiss back. I send one now into the shadows of the sunrise
and hope it will travel through the airplane window and find its way
'He will join us soon, Bilal. You will see.'
I nod, still looking out the window as Karachi shrinks into a
toy city with blinking lights. He will join us soon. I repeat my
mother's words in my head over and over, because I want to believe
they are true."
Remember how you felt when you were a child. Try to imagine how
you would have coped with this series of events. Your father
disappears a week before your tenth birthday. No one can tell you
why. It's obvious that the adults in your family are frightened.
Then your dad returns with startling news. You and your siblings and
mother are to fly half way around the world to live with your aunt and
Uncle, not knowing when (or if) he will join you.
That's the plight of Bilal, protagonist of Natalie Dias
Lorenzi's A Long Pitch Home. America is a lot different from
Pakistan. There's the dominant language, the food, the customs. On
his first trip to an America swimming pool Bilal is horrified to see
people of all ages in bathing suits.
"Back in Karachi we went to the beach all the time, but adults
always covered themselves with regular clothes--light shalwar kameez
trousers and long shirts, no arms or legs or shoulders sticking out.
At the club pool there were swimming hours for ladies and children,
and swimming hours for men and children, but never together.
But here in America? Aren't the adults embarassed to be half-
naked in front of everyone?..."
And then there are sports. Cricket, which Bilal was a star in,
is not played. Instead there is baseball which he has to start
learning almost from scratch.
All these adjustments would be easier for him if only his father
was there to guide him.
A Long Pitch Home puts a very human face on an issue ripped from
today's newspaper headlines: refugee families torn apart. I would
highly recommend it to help kids get a better grasp on immigration
On a personal note, the New Years Eve edition of the Bangor Daily News
carried the story of a man's finally victorious struggle to get his
wife and young children safely out of Syria, their native country
turned Hell on earth by civil war.
A great big shout out goes to refugee families seeking to stay or get
back together in a safe place and those who help them. Also one goes
out to the Bangor Daily News for their recent positive immigrant
stories. Way to go,
BDN!!! You're making me proud to be one of your op ed contributors.
Sent from my iPod