Coming to America

Since my father was an American citizen living in Roumania, I automatically became an American citizen when I was born. My father left Roumania in 1936, and we intended to follow him as soon as possible. In 1938, the Roumanian Nazi party invited the Germans to come and “advise” the Roumanian government, and that is when my mother, brother and I were not allowed to leave the country. As an American citizen, I had a passport of protection from the Swiss Legation during the Nazi occupation, and this passport had to be renewed every six months....

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A Dream Vacation

How can I forget my first cruise? The ship, the Morris Sigmund, was a Liberty ship which transported “materiel” from the U.S. to Europe. In December 24, 1945, my mother, my brother and I sailed from Constaza, Romania to Novorosisk, Russia, which is where I spent New Year’s Eve. We found out that the entire ship population had voted on whether to allow us on the ship. Our cabin was the infirmary. My ten-year-old brother, who had never before seen bunk beds, was elated. Of course, he wanted the top bunk. Luckily, we had two separate...

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Ode to Morpheus

For the past year or so, I have been retreating. It really became very bad when I, who used to go out almost every day of the week, didn’t feel like going anywhere–not to the movies, not to the theater, not even to have lunch someplace nice with my friends. I am very fortunate that my friends did not give up calling and helping me when I needed their help. I was aware that I was depressed since my beloved dog Shakespeare died, but there was something else underlying my “je ne sais quoi”–or “I don’t give a damn”–attitude....

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An Illegal Alien

For sixteen years, I was not aware that I was an illegal alien. In 1946, I was repatriated as an American citizen who lived in Romania. I had an American passport, and then a passport of protection from Switzerland, which was in charge of American citizens during the Nazi occupation. Like every good citizen, I voted every year. I left the country, visited Canada and Mexico, and, whenever someone would ask if I was a citizen, I would say Yes. In 1963, I decided to go to Europe the following year and applied for my passport. I received a letter...

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A Letter to Mama

Hi, Mama, This letter is long overdue. So many times I’ve thought that I should write to you, but something always stopped me. Three days ago, my Kindle came in the mail, and I started to wonder what would you think of it–you who loved books so much and introduced Ernest and me to the marvels of reading. I remember when you read a story to us about a giant with one eye in the middle of his forehead, and many other stories. Inbetween the bombs falling, you had us cruising in our imagination on the sea in search of the Golden Fleece with...

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My Dress

My Dress

Mama was very excited.  Her baby brother was getting married.  Willie had been bringing many beautiful women to our house, but I think that Anna, my future aunt, was the most beautiful. Our planning started as soon as the bride and groom decided on a wedding date.  Mama contacted the dressmaker, and they both decided on the dresses my mother and I would wear.  What color should our dresses be? How much material was needed?  What color shoes should we wear?  Will the dressmaker have enough time to complete the dresses on time? This was going...

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