(Photo Credit: J. DiEdwardo)
It was really a change of life decision. One of those moments that defines us.
The place where they were sitting would be captured as a forgotten moment in the 20th century of great pain for humanity. My memory forges a teleplay of the moment when they met. Like lightening striking, they loved then parted but felt changed.
Both lovers knew that she spoke the truth. “Let’s do it now for the sake of our hearts”
The officer and the woman spent the night together. She was my love, my mother, who never spoke of this story. But I knew when I saw the photo.
My dear mother had been a hidden Jew. I’ve never told anyone until now. I was and still feel fear.
She met Steve an American Army Air Corps Engineer in Germany as the war started.
She loved Steve from the first day that they made love in the room. But the love would not be forever.
She had to get out of Germany as soon as she possibly could. Before they met, her life was all about survival. She quickly planned the boat trip to America for her, her four cousins and her Mother that morning, as the threat to her family was real. My heritage was forgotten.
Steve replied, “I’m going on a mission that may not be easy and may be my last. But, I’m trying to prevent all from perishing in the German aggressions.”
She knew that her family heritage, her faith, had to remain a secret. She would die to protect her family. He couldn’t know.
They made love during that night; they were never together again. But the memory haunts me everyday. So many hearts are broken. But what if the lovers may have prompted the strengths which both possess? What if the love encounter made them stronger?
I write to tell the story that I see in my dreams. I share what, to me, is a real event; I was visited by a spirit. The woman was old maiden from a time long ago, the woman in the photo contest!
The curtain in the room wrapped grace as the wind howled through the open window. It was after midnight. I had my own imaginative experience that reached out to me and created my inspiration for this story.
I was very influenced by her to continue to grow in faith. I tried to be the best in my own self to help others. Jewish women aided the massive transportation of millions who were to carry on the heritage of the German born Jew.
Yet, the present times of the 21st century loom like a dead raven over my life crowded by grief of loss.
Stories are bridges to the human soul. Going to that place where I must go to place forgotten memories together to form the pieces.
Crying out I try to reach into the inner child who is always crying. Why? My story seeks to find the answer.
There must be hidden memories or hidden thoughts or hidden pain. I know this, because crying is so easy for me. Memory works to bring me forward in time and then backward, as I recall the events of my formative years, my life through a lens of truth. I am at a crossroads.
I am holding on to the good and trying to let go of the bad. The mountains give me daydreams. Daydream everyday or the memories may haunt and may hinder.
Here I stand at the home of my forgotten Jewish mother on an unnamed street. A place I know better than any other place. I pray here for my living and dead relatives and friends. I also pray of peace. But in my heart and mind, I am also brought to my knees in awe of the dear family who took care of me as a child. Even though the Pennsylvania Mountains are home to coal mining, which continues even into the 21st century, I call this home.
Mother fled with the family to this place. In America. My path is faith in memory.
To define me is to go back to the first memories that I have on Sundays in the coal regions with family and friends. It is a life changing moment to write my memory of faith that is only in my heart. Writing can bring us to our healing if we continue to write.
On September 22, 2014, I give a lecture at a Penn State conference which is held at the Hotel Bethlehem. Fifteen people attend my presentation in the Brandy Wine room for the PSU English As a Second Language Conference. My multi-ethnic interests preclude the fact that I am a mixed ethnicity: German and Jewish
On a rainy morning, I begin to discover myself. I write about memory to learn, to be, and to teach others. Memories come and go as a child of the coal region area and the child of a mountain region that is not quite what it seems. It is not ideal at all. It is filled with troubling past that actually causes strife among those who live there, who keep secrets.
Again, I remember.
“Little Martha,” he said.
I just nod
The wind carries the smell of coal dust.
Sound. I hear the clap of the horses as they make their way to our door.
The telling of the story also affects me with grief and sadness The why keeps forming my focus as I wish for a sound from my inner self that can alter the past. But I can’t change anything.
I am forgotten too. I am Jewish but not raised in my faith.
We drive on a windy road to see the coal mine residue. It’s like a journey into the reason for pondering and pondering as an adult. I often have a need for silences. These longings may not be false, but the truths I need to hold on to; maybe, if I try to overcome my grief over the past, I can move forward.
I had not voice. I had nothing that could make me know myself.
I am a child of the family.