My second book, the one on the train and my journey as a teacher in discovering and retracing the miracles, has had mostly positive reviews at Amazon. Then recently someone posted how he found himself resenting that I had clumsily inserted my own experiences into an otherwise tremendous story. (Fair enough—but ‘resentment’?) That, coupled with a resurgence of antisemitism and the other stuff that bad dreams are made of, such as the leader of the free world referring to the free press as the ‘Enemy of the American People’, sends a certain chill up this writer’s—this historian’s—spine.
Now if one really read, and ‘got’ the point of my second book, it’s about miracles and goodness and common human decency and humanity; about a triumph of the power of good and love over evil, against crazy odds; about the lessons and the values which we should hold firm to in a world filled with pain, destruction, deception, and deceit. But some days it is hard to see the good, and the world lately frankly leaves me feeling rather adrift; I wonder if it all is pointless.
And then, out of the blue, comes the quiet reminder…
I also recently got an email from a new fan in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have never met or heard of each other until he bought my books at Amazon. He loved them, and then felt compelled to reach out to me (which I invite—it’s firstname.lastname@example.org). He wrote that as he neared the end of the book, he realized that his wife was from the area where I live and write about.
We went back and forth. Later on a whim he reached up on the bookshelf in his basement office and dusted off his wife’s high school yearbook.
IT’S MY MOM, vintage 1975, autographing his wife’s graduating yearbook… turns out my mom was the school nurse teacher at his wife’s school! Neither I nor my siblings have ever seen this before; I can tell by her expression that she is laughing with the photographer wants him to get it over with! But somewhere out there, my mother, taken from us since just before the Holocaust survivors found me and entered my life and the lives of the soldiers who freed them, reaches out in this way to remind me that there is still good in the world. Maybe you couldn’t care less, but she will always be a part of the story. Thanks, William, for sending it to me. And thanks Ma, for being there for me again.