Archive for March 4, 2020

THINGS I REMEMBER — not an outtake   6 comments

I remember my student tour of Europe in 1951. Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Holland, Belgium. Eveywhere we met people like us. And everywhere except Switzerland we found bombed out buildings. I remember Germany especially, men without arms and legs making their way by new businesses trying to get a foothold in any corner where temporary buildings could be erected. Most of all I remember thinking “all these people are just like us” as we communicated through gestures and what minimal knowledge we had of the language of the country we were visiting. I remember our twenty cent packs of cigarettes were worth 60 cents for just one cigarette. It was our medium of exchange for tipping. Let me repeat. I remember the people we met were just like us.

And I remember the student guide who said to me as we tried to understand what had happened, “This will come to you someday in the United States.” Yes, more than remember that, I have never forgotten it.

I remember an 8-year-old Mona (me) in 1937 thinking Hitler must be a nice man, because I saw a picture of him smilingly accepting a bouquet of flowers from a little girl my age. I remember practicing a speech I would deliver to him explaining why he should be nice to other people.

 

Years later, I remember a client whose family was left behind in a country cruelly dominated by the USSR. In her distress over their situation she wondered, “How did they let this happen to them?”

I love traveling, and everywhere I go I meet people who are just like me – trying to make a good life.

I remember wondering how people could let it happen to them.

How could it happen? Could it happen to us?

I remember, and I wonder.

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