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Berta on Marrying Rudy

He is ten years older than me with dark hair that is already thinning. His dark eyes make him look serious and kind at the same time. But he is quick to laugh at my Father’s jokes. That is a good sign. His laugh is a rich, warm sound. This is a man who can forgive and forget. Mamma says that is the most important and I think she is right.

Rudy

I am glad they are girls. I would hate to send a boy to war. Already Germans are talking about troops and guns so much–they hate Versailles. I think they have war in their blood, no matter how bad it was such a short time ago.

The Bronze Goddess

The life she crafts—unconsciously and with fierce determination—is Goddess at her core. She is that composite we never really see in our lifetime, that we often don’t trust to be there—that vast well-spring we might not even dare to be. But we are here, anyway, in spite of ourselves or with calculated assertion.

Leaving Home

I came from people who left home. I decided to leave when I was four and I could barely wait the fourteen years. It never occurred to me there was any other way to be. My mother left her home in the gathering clouds of war and desperation. My father left his to go fight [...]

Writing Ephemory

I’ve been working on and off with the material for Ephemory since my Mother died in March 2010. I always knew I needed to work with my family’s legacy of immigration and NAZI persecution. As Mom’s last breath left her, I finally felt the charge—both permission and mandate—for me to write this. For all the [...]

Looking for legacy

After all those years pushing away my parents, the marks are indelible: love; resentment; avoidance and dismissal. Now at 50 I want to know–How did the world slash that breast, that hand, that heart, that mind and how did those wounds confabulate to mark me?

Time to move Mom

In Ephemory, Ruth is helping her Mother, Carole, pack her apartment for a move to the assisted living facility. Handling her memorabilia triggers the memories that Ruth is longing for. What precedes the decision to move Mom?

Ephemory

Each time we take out a memory it is put away changed, no matter how clean our fingers are. We never wash off those precious oils of life: context; the new person we’ve become or the qualities we’ve dismissed; our new audience or no audience. Each time the memory is slightly different. Each time the rememberer is slightly different.

You are Beautiful

I hadn’t heard my mother say a complete coherent sentence in a couple of years. She had been a relentlessly verbal person. In the last good years she would buttonhole a few folks at my parties and pin them in loquacious assault. These acts of self-perpetuation were unstoppable—beyond reason or interception. One on one, I [...]

The Project–Ephemory

My floor is littered with scraps and patches; each one seems to require special permission. Sometimes the patch conceals a hole; sometimes it weaves new cloth. Certainly what happened is important. But it’s ephemeral, conjectural, contextual and it’s evocative.