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Haunted by the Ghosts of the Past

We had lunch with some friends yesterday and spent much of the time recounting the good old days (not). 

As in:

“Things were somehow better then.”

“True, but that’s because nobody talked about anything.”

As in:

“We didn’t worry about pas yoshon, kemach yoshon, or checking the broccoli for bugs.”

“That’s because nothing was kosher. We were lucky to have Devil Dogs.”

Yes, those were simpler times.

“Nobody told us when to be home.”

“Nobody told us to wear seat belts.”

True, but then again:

“Nobody cared when we got beat up every single day.”

Child rearing and conflict resolution:

“They had the belt.”

What were our parents worried about?

They were fucking struggling.

“I’m not paying that ganev (thief) at D’Agostino.”

And they would spend double the money on gas to save three cents on milk.

The topic of sexual assault didn’t even come up. Even now, even with all we know, we can’t say the words out loud.

My husband said to me, “You’re such an angry person.”

And I said, “I hear the screams of the women in my head. I have since I was a child.”

“You told me that already,” he said. 

These words, from my daughter: 

“So many people are suffering, Mom.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, curious. Each of us has something different in mind.

“I hear about a lot of girls who get married, and these guys, all they want is a slave.” 

This doesn’t negate the happy couples. But when it goes bad, it goes very bad, and the pain is impossible.

On a brighter note, at lunch, we noted that the younger generation seems to have a more sophisticated understanding of how to raise a family generally.

They actually sit down. They actually “talk things out.” They have learned a better way of being.

All of us, at that lunch, are haunted by the ghosts of the past. Our own pain, and the pain of our parents, grandparents, extended family.

My own great-great-uncle and most of his blood relatives, taken out by Hitler’s bullets. 

I think to myself, how is it that we escaped?

I think about what the Judenrat (Jewish police) told my Zayde: “We had to give somebody up.”

There are no heroes in this world…nobody you can say is perfectly righteous…not even among our fellow victims in the Holocaust.

We are the survivors in a giant real-life version of The Walking Dead.

We go on as a personal act, and as a political one: “Hitler, you fucking lost.”

Here’s to a future where the children have no idea what the parents are talking about, when we talk about stuff like this.

Posted November 25, 2017 by Dannielle (Dossy) Blumenthal, Ph.D. All opinions are the author’s own. This post is hereby released into the public domain. Photo credit: Werner22Brigitte via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commonss).

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