Dear Daddy,

(I originally wrote in June, 1945) You came home and are gone again. Was it a dream or did you arrive in the middle of the night? When you called our names outside my window, Mommy got up and opened the front door. You came in my room, hugged me and we both cried. You said you thought about me and it kept you going. Reliving my poetry recitals, dance performances, and joyous singing felt like I was right there with you. You were determined to come home and see me again.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


But you were alarmed about my weight on your first night home. You told Mommy to take me to a doctor. I haven’t been to a doctor since my tonsils were removed at age 3. You starved as a Prisoner of War and asked why I weigh 116 pounds at age 8 while food was rationed in Chicago. You weighed 129 lbs. at Camp Lucky Strike after being liberated from the POW camp. It was 40 lbs. less than your induction weight.


Though you are disturbed about how fat I am, I feel loved again and hope that I will not be neglected any more. Can I take a tap, ballet and acrobatics class to get more exercise in addition to roller skating on the sidewalk? I want you to approve of me instead of criticizing me. I want you to accept me as I am or help me to be the way you’d like me to be.

Our family life revolves around food. That’s when I get attention from Mommy – when I eat. I know she has to fatten you up and I hope I don’t get fatter. When she placed a white linen cloth on the table with her best gold rimmed china, my happiness overflowed. This was a celebration! A miracle you’re home!

Mommy spent hours preparing a meal starting with chicken soup and matzo balls that she made from scratch. You took a sip from your spoon and said, “Ah! I dreamed about your chicken soup, Mama,” as you savored the taste and aroma before swallowing. You said the doctors instructed you to stay away from pepper, fried foods and fatty foods because of your amoebic dysentery. The soup tasted bland, but I didn’t complain. I ate in silence. Can you see I am being good?

After Mommy cleared the soup dishes and brought you a plate of boiled chicken, mashed potatoes and canned peas from the kitchen, she hovered over you as you tasted the food. “Is it ok, Harold?”

“Yes, Mama,” you answered and quietly ate your food as Mommy served the rest of the family. Then you said, “I dreamed about your chicken soup when we were starving and had only rotten potato soup to eat. The Prisoners of War talked about food we loved to eat and when they discussed steak, I thought about your soup and a slice of bread and butter.” I wanted to tell you that we didn’t have real butter, Daddy, but used my mouth only for eating.

Mommy is acting loving and kind toward you, Daddy. She treats you like a child and you call her “Mama.” I see a side of her I never knew before. She is taking good care of you. It’s like having a baby in the family. We have to treat you gently, Daddy, so you can heal from a terrible experience. I noticed you kept blinking with only one eye and at first I thought you were winking. You are very quiet and didn’t tell jokes like you did before the war. You seem sad and lost. I hope you get medical attention and realize you are found. Please be happy again!

I am still writing because we didn’t have a chance to talk before you returned to the Army base for dental care. Mommy says I shouldn’t tire you. “Don’t bother your father with questions!” I’ll wait until you are well enough to sit down with me like in the old days. Can we get the old days back?

Love,
Maxine


Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share