~This is the face of a boy about the age of my youngest son Aidan.
~This is the face of a boy who became my neighbor’s father.
~This is the face of a boy who became the grandfather of one my son’s earliest friends (who is now his co-captain on the highschool frisbee team.)
~This is also the face of a Jew on the day he was arrested and brought to Buchenwald with his brother, a Tuesday in early June, in the year 1944.
The NY Times said that the Holocaust is Fading from Memory, while a candidate for office in this nation claims it never happened.
We must do what Germany did.
The study of the Holocaust was made a mandatory part of the curriculum in their schools, as they continue to make reparations as a nation.
How might we as a people turn to face our own past? Can we commit to remembering that which we have inflicted on the inhabits here? Indigenous. Black. Japanese. Woman. Child.
Whenever we assign “other,” we seed the unthinkable, like the shooting up of a classroom of first-graders or highschoolers or the perpetuation of years of institutionalized sexual assault.
There is light and shadow to each of us and to each nation, and to ignore it is to participate in the legacy of suffering.
Because he was liberated from Buchenwald by US troops, Mr. Rosner, #1364472, will celebrate his 90th birthday this year.
He cannot deny or forget,
because he was there.
(written just after the 2016 Presidential election)
When the kids were little (and before the internet), we spent hours in the library each week. Dashed out to the car with coins, not once, but twice, even though we all promised: “Only an hour on the meter this time!” Filled growing arms with piles of books even though we brought the beefy canvas tote and committed, ahead of time: “10 books each is plenty!”
Inside the library, there are still places, long neglected by my feet, which are so familiar to me. Stacks and rows, like old friends… 100s, 200s, 300s, 600s. Places where I opened my world, narrowed my world, explored my world, defined it as a new mother, as a mother beginning to reclaim herself, as a woman stepping forward.
There is the table in the mezzanine where I sat working while my kids were at school. There is a view of the town. Of cars passing. Of leaves falling. Of first flurries.
And inside–readers & writers & viewers & nappers, of all ages, and race.
There are those who always vote. Those who never vote. Those who voted democratic for the first time. Republican for the first time.
We all remain quiet.
(Most of the time.)
We share tables and chairs and computers and books.
I often think of my 20-year-old mother today.
Exactly 8 & 1/2 months pregnant.
Her President, the age of her father-in-law, shot dead, beside his wife, on a Texas street.
My mother was 17, the age of my son, when she went door to door with her younger sister.
“The Kelly girls,” the neighbors called them.
Their mother sent them out to campaign.
I think of the unbearable grief that I felt on 9/11 & 11/9 and on the December day when children were shot inside their first-grade classroom, and I wonder that today is not my birthday.
And I wonder, what my young mother felt in those last two weeks with me inside.
And I wonder if the sweet sensitivity of my own son is due to the grief I held as he came into the world and she left it.