of the little boot-shape on the map tacked to the wall.
“Italia! La mia casa!” The boy waved at Mr. Sloman and pointed
his pencil in the air towards the map.
“Si. Italy was your home, but now your home is Canada.” Fred
Sloman picked up the globe and showed the fifteen-year-old boy where he
lived in Canada, then slid his finger towards Italy.
“I am Mr. Sloman. What is your nome—name?”
“Il mio nome è Antonio.”
“Pleased to meet you, Antonio.” Mr. Sloman pointed to Elizabeth.
“Her name is Elizabeth.”
“Name,” sounded Antonio as he drew out the sound of the ‘a.’
“Name?” Elizabeth pointed to each of his siblings.
“Maria, Zita, Mimi, Belinda, Dino, Bianca, Viviana, Guido,
Vittoria, Carla, Sienna, Dante, Pino, Orlando, Enrico, Giacamo, Luigi,
Santo, Sergio, Vincentio, e bambino e Gina.” rattled Antonio so quickly,
Elizabeth couldn’t catch them all. But Mr. Sloman’s keen ears caught
each one, and he wrote them on his class diagram. He quickly went to
each child, called them by name, and introduced himself.
The two family dogs made themselves known, tails wagging as
they sniffed the goose lard rubbed on each child’s chest. The children read
or talked to the dogs, and showed them the pictures in books. Elizabeth
finished her geography lesson, and Joan helped her father teach the little
ones the alphabet, using the name of an animal for each letter.