It took me 2o years to know who my father was. You know how it goes. You spend your whole life being your father’s daughter. Listening to his stories of World war II Berlin, and somehow you thought it was no big deal. You’d walk past him as he played his accordion, with tears in his eyes, and you assumed every father had a great story packaged under the tree. You always assumed every parent had their story, whether it was frost bite in Poland, or taking a boat to Ellis Island. You didn’t really pay attention, didn’t Mr.Houston next door also have his story, even if he was born and bred in the Midwest?
It took moving to Germany in 2000 to really understand who my father was, and it wasn’t from asking people about him. I knew about him, I was my father’s daughter, a Doring-born and bred. I heard every story, and if I didn’t get it the first time, I got it the second, and the 14th! It took speaking to others and their experience to truly understand the essence of my father. It took to experience past my re-introduction to Germany in 2000 to know who he was. It was only then I understood what the essence of the man Siggy was.
It only took me half a year later to know who my mother was. I was on a whim, my first life outside of the U.S- not on vacation- I had the travel bug. I had a Master Card in my right hand, and a major need to shake the left one. After Morocco and Italy, I had the sudden thirst to go to the Philippines. “Why not?? i’ll pay that card off when I get home and serve tables for a few months…” was my reasoning. “It’s election time!!” My mother reasoned with me. ” You’re too white to go to Pangasinan right now!!”. -As I ignored her motherly concerns,Oh to be 21 again.
It took me a mini-lifetime to get to her village. The next day, I took a stroll down the same dirt road my 3 year-old self walked with her Grandfather 18 years before. My grandmothers who I never met saw me along the road, stopped- and with big grins and exclaimed “Vinda!!- You are your mother’s daughter!!!
If my experiences going to my motherlands took so long to realize my own parents had a life before me. How can my life relate to my present?
I spoke to Anat, from the girlfriend group tonight. “how is Uri’s mom?” I nonchalantly ask about her late boyfriends mother- as if we haven’t witnessed the ultimate grief of a mother.
“We wear our mask susi” She starts- and we both know that we sing and dance like everyone else- the only difference, the only one up on life with have with out counterparts these days is: we know what could happen tomorrow, and in a place like this, it’s almost anything.
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