I haven’t blogged in over a month. I haven’t felt inspired, and since I consider this a hobby, I had no qualms about putting it aside for a time.
But I’m back, and inspired by a recent conversation between my 4.5 year old and my maternal grandmother.
That afternoon, Nanny A was trying to get Lil D’s attention with silly games and questions. When I finally suggested that she tell him about her life “in the olden days”, both parties became excited. Lil D went and cuddled up to her on her lawn chair.
I watched and listened as she described her childhood home, the goat she milked, the outdoor bathrooms, and the cleaning woman who attached brushes to her feet and skated around to clean the floor… Lil D is really interested in history and in science, especially life sciences. I prompted Nanny A to describe her family’s healthcare, hospitals, transportation and more.
Nanny A LOVES to talk and Lil D loves to listen and learn. This was a match made in heaven.
And it got me thinking about her and her family – my family. Though I have heard many many of her stories, I don’t remember all of them. And they are written nowhere. She is a fantastic storyteller and has lived an incredible life… but will she live long enough to tell my children all her stories?
Nanny A is a holocaust survivor, as was my grandfather. They both recorded video testimony for Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation so we at least have that to look back on. But there is so much more to her story than what she described in the 80 minute DVD.
She was not as candid in the video recording as I have heard her in the past. When we would visit her in her winter home in Florida, I would sit with her for an hour or two each morning and she would talk and I would ask questions. She would tell me how she felt, not only what happened or what she thought someone might want to hear.
Those are the stories that strike a chord with me. And her reality has played a large part in shaping who I am. When she is no longer able to tell her stories so eloquently, how will I?
So, as a side blog, which may perhaps at some point become the main project, I am going to begin to document her story and, of course, my take, my thoughts, and the relationship of this history to my family’s future.
I started this journey by watching my grandfather’s testimony again. He died 4 years ago. And then I began watching Nanny A’s video. I got about 8 minutes in and have about 4 pages of questions for her. I’ll be taking a trip up to her condo for that strong coffee and a chat very shortly.