There was an indication that life as usual at the Kinderheim was about to become a little different…
And change it did- Lo and behold- a child’s prescient intuition rears it’s head as one solemn morning (it seemed that was the tone for the entire existence there- always solemn) one little Schwester ( German nun- yeah all the regalia) came out of the garden.
So on this day of days- children lined up in rows- came a moment like no other- a moment that is usually salvaged for the climax to a movie- a moment that instead became an apex to a child- and in it’s simplest form was a plane.
And it was such a plane. The Schwester with the ritual of a priest- announced that a very special gift had arrived. All of our eyes were on her- as she brought forth a very large model plane- and then we all exalted as it had a door that opened- to reveal a pilot that would welcome passengers. What struck me most- was the way the door opened, and then you could slide the stair well up to the plane.
It was at that moment that I knew it was mine. The Schwester proudly pronounced that this gift was from America- and that it was from my parents. My Parents! Noone elses… It came from my very own parents. I don’t really know how she worded it- I wasn’t clear with my own response, all I do know was that in some way shape- or form- I granted this gift to all of our children here. It was without question. I suddenly had the ultimate luxury of having parents- at least someone out there that had sent me a plane- and they had nothing.
And all those children- my cohorts- I fail to remember their names- perhaps because I was too afraid to become attached to them- and then lose their souls to an empty machine called the Kinderheim.
Time heals no wounds. Clearly it has been stated otherwise- and perhaps the person writing it- failed to experience the utter sorrow that a child goes through without a true parent in their lives.
As a young boy, none of this was lost on me. Frightened in a sense- by the absolute inability to seek out and recognize a familial face, and equally lost in terms of the familiarity a boy needs with his parents- I was pretty scared.
It showed up on my passport picture- that years later the smile I thought I had- was a glimmer of fear and loneliness. It took a good friend Susan Roudebush- to look at that picture (she was a Social Worker) to see my face on my Alien Registration card, that for some reason I was so proud of- to tell me that the 6 year old boy in that picture looked scared.
The reason I believed her? The reason that it made a difference? I cried- just like that- I spilled tears and guts- that I didn’t know were in me- it was an absolute arrow- that pierced the heart of all the defenses I had spent 19 years building up- behind a façade of confidence. But it was true- I was living life scared.
I believe that everybody has a seminal moment in their lives- perhaps just an instant of primal clarity- where you become immediately undressed, and know for that one second- who and what you are- finding out that you are as lost as any puppy could ever be- when you have strived so hard- to at least appear like you have an ounce of confidence- well- then it’s either role over and die- or hide like hell.
Me? I am done with rolling and hiding- I choose another option. I choose to fight back!