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I’m looking for a path to enlightenment. No, I’m not. Actually, I just want to fit in. Doesn’t everyone want to belong? What better way to do this than to reveal personal facts about my life to people I don’t know.

I was born and raised in Porktown, a small town in southern Illinois. It was named after its founders, Mr. and Mrs. Edmond and Lillian Porktown. Most everyone worked at the hog butchers or the corn factory or the corn fields. We drank a lot of high fructose corn syrup which I now know is bad for you.

My family, being the only Jews in town, didn’t quite fit in especially during, “Pig Festival”, which lasted most of the year. No one really bothered us. Once in a while when we went to town the people there would stand around and “look atcha funny”.

We walked about five miles every Friday night to the nearest Jewish temple. I loved getting to temple because after all that walking I was pretty tired. In between the long periods of standing during worship, we were able to sit down briefly.

I should have felt like I belonged there but I was the only one with blonde hair and green eyes. Even my own parents and siblings didn’t look like me. They all had brown hair similar to everyone at temple. When we would walk down the stairwell after the service it always sounded like the Rabbi said, “Hitler’s daughter” as I walked by. I might be wrong about that. The stairwell echoed sounds and he could have been saying, “Tang Instant Breakfast Drink.” I don’t know for sure.

I once asked my dad why I didn’t look like everyone and he said, “I told you to call me Henry. Just look down and keep on walking”.

Challenges during your youth can give you a pool of emotions to draw on later in life. You can use this for creativity or you can let it destroy you.

I’ve chosen the latter and am now proud of my success as a bitter, middle aged woman with few friends and no religious affiliations except for a standing Saturday morning visit from two Jehovah’s Witnesses. Last week they brought cookies.



Peggy Zabicki
has been writing poems and short stories ever since she learned how to print. Before that, she dictated them to her mother. Her fiction and non-fiction has been published in several anthologies and magazines.

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