Phot by Johnathan Ciarrocca

On the Steps of Another Country

2 min readSep 26


Dads company offered him a Directors position in Portland Maine.

He accepted and we moved from our Yorkshire home to Kennedy Park, East Bayside.

Joey Sullivan was the first American I recall meeting.

He was tall with tidy dark hair and teeth like stars.

I imagine he was in movies,

in fact, he was a lawyer, I found out later.

He was lowering the American flag that hung from a pole wedged diagonally into the main porch timber.

“It’s dirty,” he said, observing my

puzzled expression.

“I’m replacing it with another.

You’re from the UK right?” He asked.

I nodded.

“You can hang a Union Jack, if you like, you just need to hang it to the left of the Stars and Stripes.”

I nodded again, wondering what a ‘Union Jack’ was.

He then saluted the flag and asked me if I wanted some lemonade or tea.

I shook my head.

“Why do you hang flags from your houses?” I asked,

Looking down the street,

which I assume was being prepared for some celebration.

“It’s called patriotism,” he said, introducing himself as Joey.

“I’m Frank,” says I, frowning and thinking Joey must have a condition.

“Patriotism, is the love of your country,” he said, having read my confusion at the word.

“Do you not love your country?”

He added.

I shrugged.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure.

I mean, I supported England,

when we played in the Euros…

But love?

I loved my parents, nothing more.

“When you go to school, you’ll have to pledge allegiance to the flag.

You’ll learn the Star-Spangled Banner, soon, you’ll love this land,” he said.

“Although, you can never be her President, you have to be born here for that. Like your King, being born in the…




Local poet/writer. ‘There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.’ E. Hemingway. All ©️DMM