Spider Monkey

When I was ten years old and my grandfather Nanu was still alive, my mother had him over for lunch one afternoon for meat potato stew, and he told me the story of how he once had a pet spider monkey named Inky. A first generation Italian, Nanu moved to Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania when he was ten. When war was declared in 1941, like many young men his age he enlisted in the army. As a sergeant bomber pilot, one day he was flying over Burma, and his plane was shot down by Axis forces. While recovering in an army hospital in Burma, he was befriended by an adventurous little spider monkey. When my grandfather had fully recovered, he began working in the office of a U.S army compound to help procure supplies for the army. The little monkey would accompany him, although the monkey would frequently jump up on the desk and scatter papers and spill ink from the ink pens, earning the name “Inky.” Unexpectedly, one day the Japanese army attacked the compound Nanu and Inky were staying at, and Nanu was forced to evacuate. Inky was left trapped in Nanu's office and began to panic, knocking ink over all the documents on Nanu's desk. When the Japanese soldiers broke in they couldn't find out any information as all the documents had been covered in ink. When the U.S soldiers returned, they saw what Inky had done and realized that he had prevented the Japanese soldiers from reading any private information. The officers called Inky the “best damn bureaucrat” the U.S. Army ever had. 

Place(s): Italy,Pennsylvania
Year: 1931

– Regina Gibson

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant