Saturday, June 7, 2014

Digging: Lifting the Memorable from Within the Unthinkable #Excerpt by Susan M. Rostan #Memoir

Elzbieta could not keep her mind off his handsome face. Standing about five-foot ten, she guessed, he had a strong body and softly angled eyes. Irene, one of the physicians in the doctors’ office, sat smiling as the young nurse described her beau. Irene could see in Elzbieta’s eyes that this was going to be a serious relationship; Elzbieta was in love.

“What did you do last night?” Irene asked, hoping to experience just a little bit of Elzbieta’s excitement.

“We had dinner and took a long walk. He is such a good listener, always making a good analysis of a problem I discuss with him. He has a good mind for business.”

“What kind of business were you discussing?” Irene asked, wondering what Elzbieta was thinking about besides her nursing practice. She was an excellent midwife and Irene didn’t want her to lose focus after all her training. She knew that Elzbieta’s brothers, Adam and Leon, were involved in the family business and worried that Elzbieta’s father Israel might encourage Elzbieta to join them. Israel had been successful in each of his business ventures and now that he was planning to spin off a children’s clothing store for Adam, since now he had a wife to support, Irene was worried that Israel would try to encourage Elzbieta to try her own hand at some venture.

“Papa thinks he can make some money transporting gravel,” Elzbieta began, “but I’m not sure that it is worth the investment in a commercial truck. He talks about how he can make it work and how he can start with a reconditioned truck, nothing too expensive. I am afraid that he is getting distracted from his manufacturing business. He is doing well and I don’t think he should be branching out into something he doesn’t know anything about. He says it’s just taking gravel from here to there and he can do it faster than the usual horse-drawn carts, which means he can make so many more trips in a day.”

“And what does Benjamin think about the plan?” Irene asked, hoping to get a better sense of Benjamin’s thinking.

“He thinks it’s a great idea! He wants to discuss it with Papa.”

“How do you feel about that? Would you want him to go into business with your father?” Irene questioned her dear friend, the woman she had come to love and trust in such a short period of time.

“Well, if Benjamin had a good job, a steady income, we could . . .”

“You could what?” Irene asked, with a little teasing push.

“Papa would say yes if Benjamin asked him for my hand.”

“So that’s what this is all about,” Irene shot back with a chuckle. “The girl’s in love and she’s trying to make it work . . . .make a marriage.” Irene smiled her broad natural grin, the smile that always made Elzbieta feel like a little sister, delighting the woman she adored.

Elzbieta blushed as she smiled back. Growing up with two older brothers left her eager for close girlfriends. In Irene’s smile, she saw herself as someone to be loved, to be taken seriously, someone you could trust, and Elzbieta loved her back. She couldn’t know, in that moment, that they would grow old together in a life far removed from this one.

Have you ever really thought about your ancestors beyond their names and dates of events in their lives? The stories of how they lived their lives can be a source of strength as well as inspiration in your own life.
In this new work of narrative nonfiction, Susan M. Rostan invites us to experience her journey as she seeks to uncover the story of her husband s family, including two courageous but silent survivors of WWII s Warsaw Ghetto: her mother-in-law Elzbieta and Elzbieta s brother, Marian Rosenbloom.
With the passing of Elzbieta, an aging Uncle Marian is the only surviving link to his family s history — the stories of tragic loss and heroic survival — that he and his sister had refused to share with anyone throughout their life. Encouraged by the author and driven by an emerging sense of responsibility to his sister s namesake and future generations, Marian begins a difficult journey into the memories of his childhood in the Warsaw Ghetto and subsequent survival.
As his experiences unfold, he haltingly recalls how he managed to escape the Ghetto and survive, thanks to his courageous rescuers. Out of his remembrances, the author nurtures not only the story of her husband s family history, but finds herself immersed in an insistent desire to honor Marian s rescuers. Through her poignant and compelling narrative, she revives Elzbieta s legacy of hope, caring, and laughter for all of us to share.
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Genre – Creative Nonfiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
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