Wishing You Were Here
Tomorrow January 19th would have been my Mom Adele's 90th Birthday. She loved America, literally baseball and apple pie (but definitely not beer, see photo below), and was thankful for the life she had here after her wartime adolescence. She remained loving and hopeful even as declining health over a number of years took its toll. She is so very missed. Sometimes it's hard to remember how vital and protective she was when I was young, how passionate she was working at Gimbels and Sterns later, how determined she was in 1987 to get her GED despite having had her education interrupted by Hitler at the beginning of 4th Grade. Mom was a terrific writer, especially for someone who spoke not a word of English until learning the language while working at Macys Herald Square in the late forties. Here's an excerpt from a project I definitely will finish for her one of these days:
"....And I would dream of the faraway places where some of my closest relatives had journeyed. There was my grandmother Miriam, recently returned from living with my Aunt Adele in Palestine. Life in Palestine had been exciting, a challenge, but quite simply she had missed us. And there was my Uncle Benne, who had been living all my life in that strangest of lands, America, of which I knew little. Sometimes we would discuss it at the dinner table. New York. Chicago. Miami Beach. They all seemed so far away and it was hard for me to believe that I actually had an uncle in a place called Brooklyn. Sometimes my parents would be at the dinner table, reading a letter from Benne with its Brooklyn postmark or from Adele sent from Haifa, and the discussion would quickly turn to whether our own family should relocate. As the 1930s progressed, Hitler was increasing his power and the sounds of hatred were growing louder. It seemed that some of our fellow Poles were falling in line and my parents could sense the daily tension growing even in our remote village. But my father was totally against moving, especially out of the country. This was his home, his village, his native country...."