Just One More Day

     If I could have just one more day with someone who is no longer alive, I would choose my mother. I was only thirty-five years old when she died. She did get to see my six wonderful children, but they were only five through fifteen years old. I know that no grandmother ever loved her grandchildren more than she did, but she only got to see them a few times a year for just a few short days. My mother had to leave her own parents behind when she was thirty-four years old after Hitler chased us out of Vienna. The following year, my...

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Healing in the Open

     In a bizarrely freak accident in a car wash, my car ran over my left leg and stopped on top of my knee. The car was rolled off my leg, and I was taken to a trauma center for immediate attention. Miraculously, there were no bones broken, but I did sustain a monstrous wound that refused to heal, mainly because it had been mistreated for the first few weeks.      The doctors were so amazed that I did not break any bones that they ignored the wounds and inner tissue damage I had received in the accident. They sent me to a nursing home for...

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Going Back

I am perched on the verge of a pilgrimage back to my roots. These roots do not go as deep as those of my birth, But Uruguay is, nevertheless, the earth from which these seedlings sprang, Becoming shoots that would grow into the person I would become. My parents never planted their feet on this soil, and It blew away from under their feet as soon as they left it. I cannot know what tendrils clung to me from there, but I know that there are remnants of it still. They may not be easy to recognize and identify, but they are there. The thought of...

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Family Photos

     The family photos of my early childhood were the substitute for my extended family of real people. There was no photo album . . . just a blue leather purse about the size of a small notebook. It was piped in white around the edges, and it was always kept in a drawer in the dining room buffet. I don’t remember when my mother told me who all those people were, but I knew they were the aunts and uncles and grandparents we had to leave behind when we escaped Vienna and the Nazis in 1939.      There were pictures of my parents and other...

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Berta’s Longer Story

What next?  What is next for me and my family? How much more can we endure?      Those are the thoughts my mother may have had as we flew from Uruguay to the United States after World War II had ended.  Vienna, Austria was her home when, six weeks after she had given birth to her second child, Hitler marched into Vienna and took over the whole country of Austria.  The nursemaid she had hired to live in their home and take care of her babies had a boyfriend who was an officer in the Nazi army, and they had to watch every word they said in...

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Aunt Rosa’s Apple Strudel

     Aunt Rosa was my mother’s sister, and she lived with us most of my growing up years. I was the youngest member of our extended family, so I was home with Aunt Rosa while everyone was at school or at work. The most magical food I watched being prepared in my childhood home was apple strudel, and it was my Aunt Rosa’s specialty.      She would spill a few ingredients on the kitchen table and work them with her hands until they became an elastic ball of dough. Then she would spread a flowered tablecloth on the table, sprinkle it with white...

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