Hannah Brodsky explains how handicapped she felt because she had no grandparents.
'Some of my friends (not many) had grandparents with whom they used to talk, play, go for a walk, go visiting, etc. I looked at them and felt very strange; as if I was missing some part of my body. It wasn't an arm or a leg. It was something much more important, something from inside me, from my soul. In simple words - I felt handicapped.
As a child I found it hard to understand what exactly was missing but when I saw an old man or woman sitting on a bench in the park, holding a child on their knees and reading a story, I felt envy. Sometimes I used to hide behind a tree, trying to hear what they were talking about, sometimes I would walk in front of them as if I wanted the old person to say to me, 'Come here, listen to the story.' But it never happened.'
I always had difficulty in finding out anything about my grandparents. My parents didn't want to talk about it, which was very upsetting, because other teenagers and children had grandparents, while all we heard was, 'Why do you want to know? It is none of your business.'
There were two sides to my father. I called them Daddy Mad Face and Daddy Angel Face. Daddy Angel Face was the one who would come home from work at his tailor shop in Pender Street, late on a still-light, Vancouver summer's evening, and enhance our standing with the neighbourhood kids by magically producing nickels and dimes from their ears.
Deborah Knowles speaks of family dislocation as a result of the Holocaust. She remembers her father with affection and tries to see him as he was - rather than how she wanted him to be. The recipes included in the book Mixed Blessings, are the cherished connections with the European past.
Ian Morrison writes his first-ever poem about his father’s experience. As Ian looks at himself in the mirror he sees his father. As he thinks about his father’s family loss, he too feels the effects, ‘and so he stares back at me, reminding me of who I am’.
In June 1993, on a flight from Auckland to London, I wrote a poem. To be more precise, I wrote most of it in that iconic New Zealand place of half-rest, the transit lounge at Los Angeles International Airport.
As I jotted down the lines, I realised that I was responding to a pressing inner need dating back to my father’s death a few years earlier. This was the first period of sustained and enforced leisure I had enjoyed since then. It was clearly time for some sort of mental and emotional reckoning.
For Claire Bruell, the experience of being a child of Holocaust survivors who found refuge in New Zealand is inextricably linked with the memory of aromas which came from her mother's kitchen. It is memory also which has led her to delve into the past in search of vestiges of a former way of life, peopled with ghosts, now vanished.