On June 6th, in 1988 I was spending an afternoon with my mother, sitting at the table on the corner at 211,the restaurant on Franklyn and West Broadway in Tribeca.
That day was a remarkable one for me,as Stefan my older son,stood up on his feet,on his own for the first time.Stefan was one year and six weeks old.
My mother was telling me that she liked to go to museums and was mentioning to me how a Goya painting of the little boy in a red attire fascinated her on her last visit to the Met. My mother was an artist too, and she painted sporadically,rather inspiring me, to follow through on my path.She was upset that my career was setback,right upon my arrival in America.She was at a loss.She was devastated by my absurd predicament.
We both faced so much together and when my father died in 1967, I had become her guardian and provider.For me ,she become my doll.I loved her very much.When I walked with her,everyone would turn their heads.
Her beautiful skin,with no wrinkles,the white hair,and her class.Her eyes witnessed Mengele,tearing a child from a mother's arms,as she entered the concentration camp.Mengele took the child and threw it against the wall. My mother was beaten by the kapos,as she refused to look at the horror around her and obey their orders.Her ears were torn,as the torquoise earrings,given to her by her grandmother were ripped off by a Nazi guard ,when she was brought into the camp.She was a young married woman,a student of Asian Culture at the Jagiellonski University in Krakow, when one day a German Transportation Third Reich officer invaded her home and building,arresting her husband,a known lawyer, and throwing her mother in law from the fourth floor to the her Death,under my mother's eyes.
Her mother,Ita Seltzer was killed in Treblinka.
My father's mother,Zofia Magazanik was murdered by the Germans and I never was able to find yet documentation.
My mother had a dream,the night before she was taken out from Ravensbrueck,with 36 kilos.
Regina Fenniger,her internist,who happened to be with her during the war,in the same camps,
believed that my mother was dying and in delirium,as my mother was telling her through the night that her father was wearing a house painter's overalls and painting the window shutters in green.....On the next morning,a number of cadaveric Jewish women were taken out in exchange of German soldiers. It was on the last days of the war in 1945.
My mother's eyes always reflected tenderness.She never taught me anger or to hate.
I called her my fountain of Light.
She had a contagious sense of humor and desire to live ,reminding me to laugh and see the colors and beauty of living.I am forever wishing the absurd,if she could only appear again and be near me.We laughed at the fact,that when I went out,to work ,I would call her many times. I would go specially for her to the lower East Side to get for her the Polish sausages, kabanosy.
On May 26th, my mother had turned 77,but I was never aware that that was her real age.
I thought she was much younger,as in her documents after the war,there was another date.
And besides her diabetes,her joie de vivre and ready disposition and alertness to what was happening in the world,reading and informed and interested in every aspect,one would never pinpoint her age.
On that fateful afternoon, of June 6th, late in the day,I drove my mother to her apartment uptown.When I said goodbye,she waived her hands and I felt a strange pain in my heart.
As we returned downtown.my husband and my son,I just wanted to go back to her.
I called her and there was no response.
So we drove uptown.
As I opened the door of the apartment,my mother was lying on the daybed.
I could not wake her up.
Mummy, I was calling her.
I am always calling her.