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Strawberry Fields Forever

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June 25, 1976

I travel to Blairgowrie, Scotland with three of my high-school friends.   Although we are Yugoslav citizens we are allowed to work in Great Britain if a British citizen offers us temporary employment.  We have work visas for six weeks and we join other students in a summer camp.

July 10, 1976

The sky is gray most of the time. Finally, the sun shines for more than two hours. My bucket is half-full of strawberries.  With both hands I pull off the ripe berries while I’m careful not to squeeze them.  The bucket can’t have any leaves, stems, or straw because it would spoil the jam.

It is 10am and my fingers are swollen.  When I pinch off the green stem a tiny bit of fruit juice drips on my fingers.  Then the straw around the plant sticks to my hand.  I marvel at the perfect berries and taste another one.  Delicious, like each one I had before.  I never thought that a fruit could grow to be this sweet under a gloomy Scottish sky.

I earn 3 pence per pound of fruit.  I wonder how many buckets I will fill up today.  I’m determined to earn the most I can.  If I work hard by the end of the day I’ll have 3 or 4 British pounds, unless it rains.              Continue reading