Out of the Bronx: A Memoir

Out of the Bronx: A Memoir

by Irene Sardanis


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Irene Sardanis was born into a Greek family in the Bronx in the 1940s in which fear and peril hovered. Her mother had come to New York for an arranged marriage. Her father drank, gambled, and enjoyed other women—and then, when Irene was eleven, abandoned her family altogether. Faced with their mother’s violent outbursts in the wake of this betrayal, Irene’s older siblings found a way out, but Irene was trapped, hostage to her mother’s rage and despair. When she finally escaped her mother as a young adult, she married a neighbor, also Greek, who controlled and dominated her just like her mother always had.

But Irene wasn’t ready to let her story end there. With therapy, she eventually found the courage to leave her husband and pursue her own dreams. Out of the Bronx is her story of coming to terms with the mother and past that terrified and paralyzed her for far too long—and of how she went on to create a new life free of those fears.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631525391
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Irene Sardanis is a retired psychologist. She was born in New York to Greek immigrant parents. She has been published five times in Sun Literary magazine and in many anthologies, the most recent of which is The Magic of Memoir. Dr. Sardanis has attended writing conferences in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, Mendocino, Pebble Beach, and Berkeley. Occasionally, she moonlights as a jazz vocalist. She resides in Oakland, California, with her wonderful husband, John.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 The Greek Festival 1

2 My Immigrant Parents 7

3 The Doll 13

4 The Snowsuit 17

5 The Furnace Room 20

6 The Jump Rope 26

7 The Plan 32

8 Carmen Miranda 36

9 When My Mother Cooked 41

10 Two Sisters and a Brother 47

11 The Matchmaker 54

12 The Tree 60

13 The Last Time Father Lived with Us 65

14 Departures 71

15 The Steno Pad 76

16 The Library 79

17 Alberto 85

18 A Beating in the Bronx 90

19 Miss Emmy Lou Jackson 99

20 Reuben 105

21 A Meeting with My Mother 114

22 Building Courage 120

23 Important Tests 123

24 The Door to Freedom 126

25 Leaving Home 133

26 A New Life 137

27 My Father's House 139

28 Eddie 143

29 The Pressure Cooker 147

30 Sotiris 150

31 Shoplifting 162

32 Synanon Fix 170

33 Searching for My Father in Athens 178

34 Sam 184

35 Just Kiss Me One More Time 190

36 Funerals 198

Acknowledgments 205

About the Author 207

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