Reflections of Me: Baltimore, MD 1942

No matter how much we cried, it didn’t change anything. We still were living far away from family. My new life and my new school treated me with intolerance, indifference, and I felt more alone than ever before.

The kids at school laughed at me. I wore long cotton stockings, and they wore anklets. I couldn’t understand their accent, and they made fun of mine. The Principal of the school saw me walking down the hall one day, and under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear, she said, “New York Jew.” I’ll never forget the look of disgust on her face. My mother always told me, “Fight your own battles,” and the other thing she always said was, “Silence is golden, don’t come complaining to me.”

A few months later, I thought a miracle happened. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and my mother said, “How would you like to have a brother or sister?”

I almost fell off my chair I was so excited. I really literally fell off the chair onto the floor.

Two months later, my mother fell up the stairs on her stomach. She lost part of the afterbirth, but I had no idea what that meant. The doctor said she had to stay in bed until she gave birth. I was allowed to see her for ten minutes a day. The only person I had to talk to was the doctor who came every day, and was nice enough to ask me, “How are you today Helene? How was school?”  My father still worked nights and I was alone and invisible.

My grandmother came from New York to help after the first of the year. I got my period that January; I was eleven and a half. I thought I was dying because I bled for twenty-one days. I was prepared, I knew what to do, but after almost three weeks, alone with my thoughts, I wondered what was going to happen to me.

On February second, the man from the downstairs butcher store came upstairs and said, “I’m taking your mother and grandmother to the hospital. It’ time for the baby to come.”

Grandma left me strict and explicit instructions.

Tune in next time to find out what I had to do and what happened.

Keep love and kisses in your life.