See Part 1 Here
See Part 2 Here
See Part 3 Here
See Part 4 Here
Jokes were made in the general office about arranging for my OB/GYN to come to the office as this project of data conversion was so massive – one of the first in Toronto - that they couldn't afford for me to take time off.
My sanctuary was the afternoon time with Mr. Geoffrey and our conversation and by now minimal reading. He talked more of his own childhood in Berlin. About his non-Jewish mother, his orthodox father, his beautiful older sister who had a gift for the piano. His uncles and aunts, his cousins, his grandmother. I understood, without words, they were all dead.
He read to me, or pretended to – I believe most of them were memorized - from some old letters of his mother's sent to her cousin in Toronto, fortunately kept by her and left to him when she died. She wrote of days of happiness in Berlin, days of sunshine and laziness in a farm in France in the summers. Days of privilege. Days of pride in him and his sister, her delight in their doings, her love for her husband, the history professor and writer, her joy in her own watercolours.
“You know,” he said, “I can talk to you like no one else. Your people were persecuted. You Irish know all about persecution. You know of lost tribes and hiding and fear, simply for being in the way of others' ambitions and greed.”
In the way of. I never forgot that. For all countries, all peoples are in the way of a more powerful predator – most recently we have Iraq being in the way of countries acquiring cheap oil.