Chapter 2
Finding Work in America


hen Marta began making a new home in America, she went looking for a job. Marta got dressed up in her best clothes that she brought with her. She boarded a bus and went looking for a secretarial job. The beginning interview with the employer and the current female office assistant went very well. Then Marta had to take many tests. She passed many of them. There were all in English. Marta was of course new to the country. But the employer was very nice. He seemed to like Marta very much. So he said he wasn’t too worried about the tests. He was sure she would do well. The test were grueling but she made it.

Marta began to get hopeful that her new home in America would work out alright. Maybe she could make enough money to get the rest of the family out of Cuba and they could all be united in this land of law liberty.

As she looked around the employer’s office, she thought these things and smiled. But then something happened that faded Marta’s smile. The employer pulled a group of pictures out of a drawer. The pictures were of the office assistant sitting with her and the new employer, and other women. The women were all naked in the pictures. She looked at the new employer and then the office assistant. The employer said that this was just a normal part of the job.

Marta began crying out loud like the 16 year old innocent that she was. She just kept crying. The employer began to think that she was young, and he became nervous. He put the pictures away and told her not to worry about that. He asked again how old she was. Marta told him 16 and she saw what looked like panic on his face but she didn't understand why. At that point they said there was Ind more test a phone answering test. When the tested her Marta answered and asked what number to call back on to write on the message pad. The person kept saying Murray Hill and numbers. ( it was the assistant). Marta was unaware that meant MU and numbers for the phone at that time there were no area codes. They told her she failed. Marta was inconsolable .

Then he asked if she was hungry. Marta nodded through her tears. The man and his assistant took Marta to s coffee shop where she ordered a hamburger with fries. This was the first real meal Marta had had in some time as she had been living on 1/2 a cup of a can of soup per day.

The two calmed Marta down, she ate and then went to leave. Marta knew there was no job here for her with those photos and the tricky phone call. She went back home on the bus that she took to get into the city. She cried the whole way home her head leaning in the window.

When Marta arrived home, her Carlos saw the red rimmed eyes and knew something terrible had happened. “What happened?” Carlos asked his Marta. Marta said, “I can’t be a secretary in America, they are all prostitutes..” This is how Marta began her work in the factories near her husband Carlos.