Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh my!

To quote an client from many moons ago at the start of a campaign, (said with real, but no question, carefully-maintained Greek accent), "It's really HAPPENING!"

I can't believe this blog actually exists. It's mine. People will read it. So I imagine, I should have SOMETHING of interest to say.

The reason for this blog's existence is the book I wrote kind of by accident. You ask, "How the hell can you write a whole fucking BOOK by accident? Puhleeze. Lipman, don't get cute with me."

I'm not, really I'm not. This whole thing began more than 10 years ago when it dawned on me that if I don't put my mother's family tales to paper, they'll disappear forever. I wasn't outwardly frantic, but there was absolutely an internal freneticism as I sat down with her again and again and again. (Well, I needn't have felt so pressed, she's still around, got tsu danken.) I remember telling my buddies at work that I was doing this. And that I had 6, yes, 6 pages typed SINGLE SPACE. I was very proud of my self.

But with each story, came more questions. Which my mother was unable to answer. Naturally she couldn't; she was only 6 1/2 years old when she emigrated from Czechoslovakia. (From a sea of rural Hungarians in Subcarpathia.) And she only knew stuff from my grandmother's point of view. Now, I would trust ANYTHING that came out of my grandmother's mouth. (She was just one of those rare people...) But she (and Mom) were not party to everything.
And I'm just one of those people who is COMPELLED to connect the dots even where I don't yet know they're there. (I guess kind of like writing a book and having no clue that you're doing it.) But they have to be. I just have to look harder, ask the right questions...

And my six pages of separate Tales of the Jews of Subcarpathia weren't linked. And relieved as I was to have recorded Mom's memories of the town of Kaszony in Czechoslovakia, I needed, wanted more.

And I also became painfully reminded that while I knew that my mother's family that had remained in Subcarpathia were sent to Auschwitz and that some survived, I was completely clueless as to when and how it happened. (I don't mean, "Gee whiz, you mean they were stuffed in a cattle car?") What actually happened to the Hungarian Jews? Huh? I knew infinitely more about what happened to Poland during the war than I did Hungary. And I just figured, I'll get the answers to all the questions I have and the ones that haven't come up yet. I made the assumption that if I wanted/needed to know, other people would too. I need to dot the i's, cross the t's...To understand Ma's stories, I needed context. So off I went looking for context. I love context.

Man, if were still at work...I bet those 6 single-spaced pages were written in 1997? I'll ask my husband when he wakes up. I sleep so goddamned late, that I keep him up to all hours. (No, not even doing anything interesting. That's a whole other kettle of fish.) And he wakes up at dawn no matter how late he goes to bed. Poor boy. He's starting a company and is my nursemaid. He's remarkable. But I really should cut him a break, and let him go to bed at reasonable time. He needs to function even more so now that I don't.

I got the word. Yup, 1997. God damn that was a long time ago! Back then, I was an ad agency account guy. I had worked at Grace and Rothschild for almost ten years until a nasty thing happened. (All will be revealed in another post, I promise.) I was then asked to come back and work freelance until they could find someone to fill my position. It took 11 months. A monumental 11 months. Auf wiedersein.

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