Over a period of months I listened to the tale told to me by this Greek hair dresser about the tragic lives of her forebears who had lived in Turkey until surviving members were forced out after the Greco-Turkish wars of 1919-1922. A tale that included soaring successes and tragic failures, some at the hands of a bitter fate, others because of their own poor judgments and reckless decisions.
I was fascinated at this glimpse into another time, another place, a complicated culture unfamiliar to me. Exotic, powerful, it held shades of Greek myth, of tragedy.
Hooked on this history, I believed I could fictionalize my hair dresser’s story. Quickly I realized it was not enough to chronicle a family’s trajectory from poverty, to success, back to poverty, then follow up with the immigrant story of struggle in a new country. I wanted a back drop, a context, to set a stage for more comprehensive understanding for what I wanted to unfold – exactly what, I didn’t yet know.