Holocaust Day, My Children, and My Mind’s Eye

Powerful writing on a serious subject.

Emily L. Hauser - In My Head

Auschwitz_TrainOccasionally, on Holocaust Day or some other, random day, I will look at my children, and see them on a train.

See them starved. See their clothes in shreds. See them with blank eyes and sores on their faces, their hair matted, all joy, all light, gone.

My mind doesn’t allow me to go far down these paths (a fact for which I am eternally grateful), but it peeks down the path, toward the incomprehensible at the other end, and then I recoil in pain and tears.

If for no other reason that I know that I am not, really, seeing anything.

My mind providing me, unbidden, with an image it imagines to be something like Jewish children at the time of the Holocaust is simply me overlaying a hundred thousand photographs on top of my beautiful children’s faces. It’s nothing like actually seeing it. It’s not being a mother…

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Saving Saving Saving

It has been a couple weeks since I bought my tickets to Europe and decided I’m moving, I’m pretty proud of myself because saving money has been something that I struggle with but so far I have been doing a good job sticking to my budget and putting away the money I need. I’ve even been putting away extra money for each goal! The way I’ve chosen to set my budget is on a weekly basis, since I work with tips and a paycheck it tends to be easier for me to set my goals this way and achieve them. With my flights already purchased and my rooms rented, the savings I’m doing is primarily for entertainment and train tickets which is ideal. My goal is to save more than I think I will actually need in hopes of returning home and moving with more savings than originally anticipated. Moving is such a large cost in itself that I’ll need to be sure I can purchase a bed, couch, kitchen furniture and all those kinds of things as well so any extra money I can put away will be beneficial. So far I am further along than expected by putting away an extra $50 here and there. I find that putting money away on a weekly basis is encouraging and motivating me to continue on my savings goal and not go crazy with my spending. To me, it is still important to enjoy life and live rather than stay cooped up all the time but if you are aware of what you are able to spend you are less likely to go crazy with it.

Now is the fun stuff – deciding what I’m doing in each place and loosely planning the adventures I will take! Any thoughts on Amsterdam, Dublin, or Paris? Share your favorite places to hang out so I can explore the options I may not have discovered on my own yet!

Newton Park: The Lost Story

“Once you leave home, you can never go back.” These words echo through my childhood; I refused to stay in my one-lane town. As I grew older, an education and a yearning to see the world pulled me away. One year when I arrived home, they had torn down everything from my childhood home except the fireplace. I found myself surprisingly devastated.

The last place that my family was a family was now gone and I felt my hope go with it. A house built in the 20s, that withstood hurricanes, water surges, and fallen trees is gone, washed away. All that remains is the pathetic outline of the rooms that held many family memories – not just my memories but the memories of children before me. The fireplace that brought christmas wonder to so many families is nothing but a few stones in the sand.

I sat and stared at that sandy stone fireplace and remembered the dark brown bowl we kept our dog’s toys in nestled in the corner. She would be asleep on those red tiles with her head on the toys. I remembered breaking my elbow on the opposite corner and trying to climb the tree out the window with my arm in a cast.

I can’t speak for the families that lived in that quaint beach cottage before mine, but for us it was paradise. My father turned the garage into his ‘home office’ where he kept all his tools and fixed boat motors and hung his speed bag.

Every once in a while we would have visitors in the apartment off the garage. Frequently Reeve Lindbergh would stay as she was friends with Jim and Ellie Newton. When I was in the fourth grade, she came to my school and read some of her poetry – I was in awe.

The Newtons owned the property and lived next door; they were such fascinating people. Ellie told the most amazing stories and showed me pictures of inspirational figures like Thomas Edison. Jim swam every single day even through his nineties – even in stingray season! He never got stung, but I was so afraid he would. They were such kind, loving people and the feeling they gave me has imprinted on my being.

Our driveway was magical, Hibiscus trees separated us from the street creating an archway over our sandy driveway. On the other side of the trees, we had a trampoline and jet ski to play with. A little garden lined the side of the house where I planted flowers and vegetables while learning about the victory gardens of World War II.

The wooden stair case was small and lead into the ‘shoe room’ where my father insisted we keep our microwave for fear of our brains getting fried if we stayed in the same room as it. Entering through a white door with windows you would find an open kitchen/dining room combination with an indoor window that lead to the adjoining closets of two rooms. Throughout the years all three of us girls lived in both those rooms and shared the jack and jill bathroom. We all used that window to sneak into the kitchen and out the door.

The archway from the kitchen brought you into an open computer room and living room with french doors out to the patio and beach. I’ll never forget coming outside as a child and finding strangers using our outside shower. My mother was always very nice when telling them it was private property and not for public use. My parents bedroom had a huge window out to the beach with tye dye sheets on the bed. I was the wild one climbing from tree to tree and building sandcastles.

 

Today those trees are further gone than the home itself. All that is left are a few bricks, stones and benches. The beach is still the same, they can’t take that away. I’ll always be able to sit on the beach that I learned how to add and subtract on, how to ride a bike and surf. My father’s ashes live at that beach.

Tourists may eat their lunch and wash their feet, but I remember the family that ate dinner on that porch every evening and loved their beach cottage almost as much as each other. I wonder what other memories lie in that beautiful home from before the nineties. Seventy years of being other families home, of being on the island before any condominium or hotel was built.

Maybe I was wrong, you can go back home. It is acceptable to visit the memories and go back to a place you have lived so long as you have grown as a person. No matter your surroundings, you are still at your core who you are – everywhere.

xxx

Sam