of our country trips were not so exciting or pleasant. The people in
the country were paid for the room and board of the Londoners, and they
didnt like us. They would come to the train station when wed
arrive, and choose the family they would take. They didnt like
fat people because they would eat too much. They didnt like Jews
because they were supposedly all the awful things that have ever been
said about Jews. And we were Jewish.
Mother had pinned a tiny Star of David to my undershirt, hoping it would
work like a good luck charm to help keep me alive. One evening, the
lady of the house walked into our room while mother was giving me a
sponge bath, saw the Star of David and became hysterical. She told us
to leave her house, screaming that we had contaminated everything
we had touched - her dishes, her knives and forks - her very air!
We walked to the train station along the stony country lane, and my
doll, my precious doll, my only toy, fell from the carriage where our
bags of stuff were stacked. Her china head cracked and broke. We spent
the night sitting on the bench at the train station waiting for the
morning train to take us back to London. I was heartbroken and cried
Back in London, one day my Zaida (Grandfather) and Mum were pushing
the baby carriage along the High Street of our neighborhood, in the
middle of the day, when the siren began its up and down wailing.
Mother wanted to run to the tube station shelter because it was closer
. But Zaida said No, we cannot leave Booba (Grandmother) alone.
She would be too frightened. Mother insisted on going to the station
But Zaida grabbed hold of the baby carriage and began pushing it, running,
toward home. Mother and I had no choice but to follow him.
We spent the rest of the day and all the night in the dark, in the shelter.
In the morning, when it was quiet, we came out, only to hear on the
news that the subway station we had almost gone to had been bombed.
All the people down there on the subway platform had died.
When the war was over, there was a party on the street. And some time
later the soldiers began coming home.
I begged my mother to allow me to run down the stairs and answer the
door when my daddy came home. And she said yes.
seemed a long time later that the doorbell rang, and I remember very
well the excitement of that moment. I ran to the door, opened it, and
a giant stood there. A tall, tall man in uniform, with a backpack. A
total stranger. I dont remember him at all after that moment for
many years. My mother told me that I kept asking her when he was going
away again, because I didnt like this stranger telling me what
10th October, 2001
children often went hungry, and fruit, either fresh or tinned was a real
treat. To read about 'the stolen fruit' just
and her family eventually emigrated to the US and she now lives in New
Jersey. She is a member of the TIMEWITNESSES Panel
of Elders and you can write
and ask her questions if you click here.