Excerpt from Chapter: “How We Got Here”

Published October 19, 2017

To understand the devastation this day brought, we have to start at the beginning.

For most people, they fall in love, decide to get married, and have a baby. Or these days they may even have a baby, then decide how they feel about it all, and then maybe get married. Yes, I did get married, but when it came to the having a baby part—nothing happened.

I am the only child of two Holocaust survivors who immigrated to the US after the war. Although their paths probably never would have crossed in the different parts of Poland where they grew up, they met and married in the Bronx, New York. I was their pride and joy; a precious attempt to recreate their decimated family. Although most children are the pride of their parents in a survivor family, the children receive almost holy devotion as symbols of their parents’ survival. My parents were in their thirties when I was born. For the 1950s, they were considered older parents. In addition to being older, they were new to American ways, and much of what came naturally to other parents was unknown and foreign to mine. In many ways I had to guide them through routine things and often felt as if I was parenting them. Although sometimes a chore, this taught me self-reliance and gave me enormous strengths at an early age.