Down The Pan Am

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Down The Pan Am
(in memory of my mother)

Cruising down the Pan Am highway
feeling the freedom
she didn’t feel
in the land of the free…
For she was anti – war,
anti – tyrant in her day,
a leftist revolutionary….
persecuted for her beliefs,
who had a small file,
and was under surveillance
for her subversive activities.
The FBI parked across her street,
and the judge she worked for and adored
was labeled a Communist.
In a big white pick up truck,
she chose to leave her homeland,
because she couldn’t thrive inside…
to leave the sleepless nights
and paranoia behind,
moving South down the Pan Am
looking for a better life,
taking a dog and a baby girl
with her on this very long ride.

The truck bed
packed-up to the hilt
with essentials from her past,
clothes, books in English,
photo albums and wind chimes,
she dropped down through Baja California
made it through Mexico at last.
People said she was crazy, to make that trip
all by herself in the early 1970’s
almost 4000 miles
with a dog and a kid,
to give up electricity,
The Hollywood Bowl,
the glitz and hum of civilization
and leave it all in the rear view mirror.

She was a young dreamer
who finally began to see
her dreams come true,
who wanted a better life for herself
and her child,
so she kept pushing her way through.
At every border crossing, playing
the game of immigration,
“Papers for the dog please
and your cards of vaccination!”
“Now your papers for the car,
your passports, and what’s in the truck?”
Loading and unloading
at every border crossing
the guards smiling,
not lifting a finger, wishing her good luck
pulling off the highways,
sleeping where they stopped
counting the stars,
the dog staying awake on guard.

Two months later,
flat tires and delays for parts,
she finally turned her car off,
at the end of a dirt road,
and watched the breakers.
In the middle of nowhere,
on Costa Rica’s Pacific shores.
A town of sixty people
and only two cars,
was to be her destination
and her destiny.
She made it to the simple life,
more like going back
150 years in time
a welcoming community
of country hospitality,
beans and rice,
tortillas and black coffee,
the ocean breaking waves on the pilings
right out their back door.
* * * * *
My mother passed away,
before she reached old age
but a family legacy lives on today,
in the country
where she stopped her engine,
and stayed,
in the country she loved
as her very own,
and where I still live,
that little girl,
staring out the window,
holding her doll so tight,
singing songs in Spanish
the tires eating up the miles
of Central America,
on their way to a brand new life.

Karima Hoisan
February 6, 2022 (Election Day)
Costa Rica

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30 Responses to Down The Pan Am

  1. daleinnis says:

    What a story! So like your family, to just head off into the distance, with just the muse and whatever came to hand, and then end up in the perfect place that was meant to be… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Someone wrote about her, “Some thought her crazy but she turned out to be a visionary” I am sure glad my childhood memories were here instead of….anywhere else. I barely remember the trip and few photos remain that you can decipher..but here we still are:):) Thank you Dale for this comment:)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Flesch says:

    What a gorgeous write and ode to your beloved mother, dear Karima. What a powerful visionary, was your mother. I’m in awe. This here touched my heart deeply, “My mother passed away,
    before she reached old age
    but a family legacy lives on today,
    in the country
    where she stopped her engine,
    and stayed,
    in the country she loved
    as her very own,
    and where I still live,
    that little girl,” Your mother would be so proud of you, my dearest friend. Spreading love, light, and inspiration to and within everyone you touch. A mirror image of your strong and powerful mother. Thank you for sharing this story with us today. I’m honored. 🌹🌸❤️✨💫🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Jeff, this beautiful comment feels like a hug to me:) Our unusual story is all because of her.. She put her dreams into actions and the Judge mentioned, actually bought the truck for her to drive down. I was reminded today on our Election Day, the peaceful process we have always enjoyed here in Costa Rica on voting day and when I pulled out my identity card to vote, I was reminded of my mother…who embraced citizenship as she did everything else here. Thank you for saying, she would be proud of me:) Inshallah…I hope she would:) … Thank you for this amazing comment, dearest Jeff, it went straight to my heart and my eyes…🤗❤️🌹🦋🙏

      Liked by 2 people

      • Jeff Flesch says:

        I’m glad the comment felt this way, hugging you always, my dearest friend. Indeed, she did. I’m so happy you received this wondrous reflection, and shared it with us all. You’re most welcome, dearest Karima. Always my pleasure to read and experience your words. They always sit in my heart. Always. Many blessings to you on the coming week. 🙏🌸🌹✨❤️

        Like

  3. Navin says:

    This poem has touched my heart deeply…such beautiful words to your beloved & kind mother…Karima, you’re an amazing storyteller…your lines did project the imagery…where I felt as if I were the watcher…watching the scene through your writing…your mother, that sweet little girl & the cute dog…those moments of struggle…cruising through the PanAm highway to ending up in Costa Rica…your beloved mother – a young dreamer back then & a strong woman all the way…a visionary…that young li’l girl is now a strong & kind being…spreading her wisdom, light & love…an inspiration to many…Karima, thank you for your sharing ✨❤️💫

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Navin…your sensitivity and your empathy, bring tears again to my eyes… as you can imagine, this is a special subject for me..and although I have written about my mother before, I never attempted to tell her broader story….the background for leaving and the journey itself. Oh yes she was strong, unconventional, but well loved and Costa Rica adopted her as quickly as she adopted Costa Rica. Thank you so much for your words..I like to think I retain much of her in me too. I would be very proud if some of her, shines through me. My pleasure Navin and thank you for caring to know her story and to ride down that highway in your mind…with us 🤗🙏🦋🇨🇷

      Liked by 1 person

  4. marcdbaker says:

    Reading your post felt like I was sitting in the back seat while rolling down the Pan Am highway with you and your mother. Beautiful ! I thought I lost my mother when she died in a automobile accident. She was only 42 years old and I was only 16. My mother had a clean spirit and I try to honor her by reflecting her spirit into my life and also by how I interact with all people. A part of my mother LIVES on in me the same way that part of your mother LIVES on in YOU !
    Believe it Karima !
    It is true. The mother/child bond of love is unbreakable ! I pray that my words give you just a tiny bit of peace to add to your own peace !
    Via con DIOS KARIMA ! DEO VOLENTE !
    Marcos

    Liked by 1 person

    • Muchas gracias Marcos, for your beautiful comment, full of understanding and sharing. Losing your mom so young must have been so hard on you too and in an automobile accident, somehow, that is even more tragic. I agree with you, the mother/child bond is so strong and yes, of course, we carry so much of them in not only our DNA but in our way of being (learned from them) I really enjoyed your insights on this poem, and if the big dog, would make room..you could hitch a ride for awhile down the Pan Am 🙂 Your words were very compassionate and very moving. Thank you again, Karima

      Like

  5. Wow, Karima. This is amazing – I’ve long been curious about how you ended up in Costa Rica! What an amazing adventure and life journey! Thank you for sharing with us 🙂

    Much love,
    David

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww thank you David:) Yes I have been and am still pretty reticent to talk about all the details, but my mother was an amazing woman and as I was casting my vote, in Costa Rica’s Presidential election, I started thinking that I should at least try to pen a rough sketch of our history and how we ended up here. I’m so glad she chose Costa Rica….I know she did it, because of the abolition of the army here in 1948…which still stands. I’m glad she chose well.:) Thank you for commenting🙏❤️🇨🇷

      Like

  6. Joey says:

    What a beautiful and strong woman ❤
    Happy election day! Democracy and peace can heal the world. Hugss, Joey

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Linda says:

    Determination, resilience, and magic, are here on the page and within you as a person. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. KK says:

    This is an amazing story, a touching story, Karima! Both you and your mother had suffered such a hardship, but I salute the courage and determination of your mom. Her personality is also reflected in you. Sometimes destiny has to be written by ourselves. I always respect a mother, but my respect multiplies, when I come across a mother like yours. Thank you for opening up and sharing this inspiring story. Much love to you 🌹💐💖🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kaushal for your beautiful words…Yes my mother made the right choice for sure. I can not imagine living in the USA today!! Costa Rica is a beautiful country and not only the beauty of the scenery, but its history..abolishing the army in 1948 and putting money into education, conservation, the ambiance…and our people…there still remains that nature of helping, community, being connected. Thank you so much for your words about her…She was special…and I hope to always make her proud:) 🙏❤️🤗🌹🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Harshi says:

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Karima!
    It’s inspiring and truly remarkable that you’re mother had the determination and fearlessness to not only dream but to pursue and realise them as well.

    This is the kind of ode which blossoms hope in the heart of every dreamer. Thank you so much for sharing this heart tugging poem. It takes courage to pen it down and share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ohh Harshi, thank you too for this comment full of admiration for my mother and her choice:) It makes me feel so proud of her all over again..and I am s happy I attempted to write a poetic narration of her decision to leave it all behind and journey into the unknown. Yes, I too have taken to heart her trust in the Universe and her destiny..It has also inspired me to follow my dreams. Your beautiful comment, is much cherished by me. 🤗🙏❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A brilliant and moving account. It is often written that truth is more powerful than fiction and I can feel that when reading this poem. I think now of all those refugees whose journeys are made without choice and she must have felt some of that, the need to have hope and keep moving until you reach your destination.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. David.. and I agree on what you say, that truth can be more powerful than fiction.I have seen this in my own life, and certainly in my mother’s. Oh my, I think of all the refugees too and I wanted to adopt a couple/family from Syria and bring them here to live…but even Costa Rica does not make that easy and actually makes it impossible, by charging heavy fees for even staying a month. I wish there would be an agency that could cut through all the red tape and allow people to help each other. The plight of the immigrants is very close to my heart. When I was in Jordan, I helped a family, I knew personally to be accepted for a refugee program and now live in Texas. They are the lucky exceptions…so many never even have their voices heard. Thank you for this thoughtful comment…

      Like

  11. You are masterful storyteller (and you do it every effectively through your poetry and music)! The details really make us feel part of the story. Strong work as always!!!

    Like

  12. ❤️ 💪🏼 👏🏼 Great Tribute! Loved this little story…epic, penned so well…thanks for sharing.

    Like

  13. johncoyote says:

    Reblogged this on johncoyote and commented:
    A wonderful poem shared by a talented writer.

    Like

  14. johncoyote says:

    I loved the thoughts, I loved the journey in your words. Once day. I will come to Costa Rico and finish my stories. Hello dear Karima. Good afternoon from Michigan.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh you find many places on the Southern Pacific shores to write and feel the tropics on your face. I wish you the very best on your books!

    Like

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