Why I wrote Sadie...
From as far back as I am able to remember, I loved to sit and listen to my mother, Anna, and her sisters, Regina and Mildred, talk for hours on end of their childhood and what it was like for them growing up poor on the streets of Manhattan.
Of all the times I sat with them, my favorite times were the ones we spent in my Aunt Reginas kitchen at her summer bungalow out on Long Island. Around midnight, each sister would take her usual place at the table, and there they would sit and talk and sip tea until dawn.
Even as a babe in arms, I just couldnt get enough of their stories. Through my tenderest of years my mind was their naked canvas where each of them, in their own animated way, took center stage and painted for me the most vivid pictures of the story of their lives and their world in another time.
Always a child of the night, I was never asleep before midnight. If my mother was to take her place at their table, and in so doing be able to have peace of mind, I was usually on her lap doing battle with the sandman until he, as exhausted as I, finally won me over. There in my mothers arms, as I drifted off to sleep; listening and absorbing their every word, I envisioned angels on wing and things that go bump in the night.
Though one sister would be in the spotlight when telling her version of their tale, the other sisters, who never seemed at a loss for words, constantly interrupted to make a correction when their names, or the names of any other family members who had come and gone on into the great beyond and no longer here to speak for themselves, came into the story in play.
As I grew, I went from my mothers lap to eventually having a place of honor of my own at their table, and, over the years, I relentlessly pestered them to recall their tales for me again and again. I asked them to recount their tales so many times because I had this deep-seated need to know every nuance of their lives and I feared I might have missed something along the way.
As the years went by, I got to know each of their stories so well if they dared to change or omit a single word Id interject to correct them, and my mother would then raise her eyebrows at me to remind me of my place at their table.
The ladies, growing older and tired of telling me their tales, often said I should take over because I probably knew their stories as well as they or better. I would just smile and tell them when I grew up I was going to write a book about their lives, at which point they'd smile at each other, laugh, and say for me not to dig too deep.
Well, these sisters three have gone on now, and I am all grown up, and I did do some digging of my own. I delved deeper and deeper into their past, and in my search for the truth behind their tales, based on the familys myths, lore, and legends grown out of Ireland of long ago, I revisited the history of Manhattan that encompassed their lives.
Though it hurts me so their voices have been silenced, I now am finally able to add my voice to theirs and have their stories go on for all who come after me.