‘Clydesdales on Cobblestones’ by Carey Azzara

The City wind bit our faces as we begged for pennies and the occasional nickel on a busy street in Brooklyn New York. My mother Liana, sister Gisella, and I were grateful when a passerby put a penny or two in our cups. It was a Saturday late December 1933. A woman dressed in a tattered coat dropped a nickel in Gisella’s cup. “I wish it could be more, but I have young ones to look after too,” she said as she whooshed away.

Mama called after her, “Best of luck to you; God bless you.”

The Great Depression devastated our little family. I was six years old when the crash came, now I am nearly nine. Gisella is seven. We survive on the edge. At times it is only the hate I feel for my father that keeps me going. Mama says I need to forgive, but I say – to myself of course – never.

The kindness of strangers has kept us alive. But Mama has become more desperate as the weeks pass. Near her breaking point, she has asked for my help.

“Lorenzo, Mama loves you and Gisella very much, which is why I must ask you to do something deceitful, against God’s laws. But the sin will not be yours it will be mine. As God is my witness the sin is mine.” She burst into tears.

The next day we walked to where we had seen Clydesdales pulling a beer wagon. The scam was.

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