National Geographic : 1988 Jan
By MALGORZATA NIEZABITOWSKA Photographs by TOMASZ TOMASZEWSKI N A BUS in Manhattan I looked over the shoulder of my neighbor at the news paper he was reading. An entire page was taken up by one line, an advertis ing slogan for an airline: "If you don't like the weather today, you have 207 ways to change it." America! In Poland if you don't like the weather, all you can do is stay home and draw the curtains. My husband, Tomek, our eight-year-old daughter, Maryna, and I had come to the United States from Poland in the summer of 1986. Since our youth Tomek and I had known the America of our dreams, the country of our favorite movies, books, and songs. And now NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC gave us an assign ment to "discover" the America of reality. How to do it, the Editor said, was entirely up to us. In a very American way he gave us total freedom and also total responsibility. For the first time in our lives we could experience the charm and peril of free choice. Without plans, research, or even advice from friends, we went on the road to see what would happen. Here is the America we saw, and here are some of the Americans we met. "My name doesn't matter, I'mjust an American," said this celebrator, starred and striped for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. "I love my flag, and I'm very proud of it."