Welcome to America, from The Trees and the Fields Went the Other Way, by Evelyn Eaton

indigestion

I arrived in New York with thirty-five dollars, a camera and a fur coat. I asked the taxi driver where he thought I ought to stay and he took me to a small hotel on Broadway in the seventies. Here I found a room for nine dollars a week, paid for two weeks, and went out to pawn the camera and the coat.

When I got back I was tired, and more than a little afraid. I lay on the bed in the stifling little cell with its grimy walls, and turned on a switch marked “radio.” A grating in the wall gave forth with dance music. Then there came a pause and a man’s voice said gravely: “Now for an important message.”

“Here it comes,” I thought. “War . . . it must be war. . .” I braced myself in anguish for what everyone in Europe feared, expected. . . .

“Do you suffer from acid indigestion?” the grave voice asked. I could not believe what I heard. I thought perhaps my mind had given way. The strain of recent years, the journey, this exile in a foreign country . . .

There were no commercials on my radio in Europe. It was my first encounter with the never-never land of phony sell. I listened bewildered. The news when it came said nothing about war. It talked of names and people and events I could not relate to. I knew nothing about the United States except what I had gathered in my childhood. I might as well have traveled to the moon for all I knew about my new surroundings.


From The Trees and Fields Went the Other Way, by Evelyn Eaton
New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974

One thought on “Welcome to America, from The Trees and the Fields Went the Other Way, by Evelyn Eaton

  1. Thank you for posting the excerpt (I am Evelyn Eaton’s granddaughter). Her books are not in the public domain, but they’re still avaliable at well stocked public libraries. As her literary executor, I have republished some of her books in e-book format. Trees and Fields is next on the list!

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