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Sandy Ground Marguerite Rivas sipoet Hi Austin,
Staten island sure is different now from when i was growing up in the late fifties early sixties. The thing is, I become so unaccountably sad sometimes, and I think I am mourning the loss of my childhood island, but not quite sure. There are times, however, when I find pockets of the old island, kind of like finding a penny tucked away in that secret little pocket in your levi jeans and not remembering it was there. Like this: people who look out for other people's children; a hazy cold harbor and a pebbly beach; mulchy earth embedded in my workboots after a hike in the woods; the smell of fresh air in my little girls hair when I tuck her in at night after she's been out playing basketball all day; I know I'm home.
Some years ago I did some scholarly work on the Puerto Rican migration experience and the literature that came out of it. After WWII Puerto Rico became industrialized thanks to Operation Bootstrap; people who left to come to the mainland and found that they wanted to return to the island were in for the shock of their lives -- it was like home no longer existed -- factories and pollution replacing farms and such. I guess its kind of the same for staten islanders. Maybe for some of you who left, home no longer exists except in memory or cyberspace. I'm here to tell you that there are times when I guess you are right. I'm also here to tell you that if you come back for a visit, let me know, and I'll show you the shiny pennies I have found in my pockets.
(Sorry for rambling -- am melancholy tonight)

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