I am reposting here Where I am from, posted for the first time in February 2005, at a time when I was only starting taking photos and when I was still recovering from the psychological effects of breast cancer and radiation therapy. Why this morning? I don’t know. I just felt like doing it.
To listen to this post in French click below
I have followed Fragments from Floyd‘s assignment and written about where I am from. It took me a long time, as English is not my native language and I have mixed feelings about posting this so I hope you’ll bear with me. But here goes my attempt at WIF, as Fred1st put it.
I am from printing ink, film and newspaper, from the smell of soap and suds during the week and roast chicken and cheese-cake on Sundays, from working on open-air markets to owning a shop.
I am from the small, pink-curtained, scary-at-nights bedroom and from the long corridor with the old-fashioned refrigerator at the end, with the frightening articulated doll waiting in ambush, from the library where I borrowed as many books as was possible, and from the oblivion that came from these books.
I am from the hortensia and roses grown with horse manure, the incongruous sheep passing by our house, the long afternoons with a book on the beach, the playing cards with my illiterate grandmother
I am from the reading and studying and being stubborn, from the suffering in silence and rejoicing together around the piano, from Léa my grandmother and Fanny my aunt, and Gitta, my mother and Joseph my father. I am also from these relatives I never knew, my grandmother Feigl, and those who died in the Holocaust, my grandfather, Jozef, my aunt Rosa and my uncles David and Solomon, and also from this other grandfather who left his wife and children fend for themselves
I am from the survivors and hard-working, self-taught polyglotts who found shelter in France and settled in, from these people who wanted culture and education for their children
From ‘finish your plate, so many Chinese children are starving’ and ‘you are so cute when you’re asleep’ and ‘little girls must obey their parents’, from roaming the Louvre in winter and boating on the Bois de Boulogne lake in summer with my father, and from knitting endless sweaters with my mother
I am from being a Jew when Jews are attacked, but otherwise a practising atheist, from wondering why women aren’t allowed to sit where men can.
I’m from France, Poland, Bulgaria, my mother’s kneidlars and my grandmother’s burriquitas from my mother-in-law’s delicious tourte à l’herbe, and from travelling round the world with Roland, my husband.
From the woman who left her family and country to marry a man, changed her mind and married another one, from the woman who stayed with her mother until her relatives practically forced her to get married, from the woman whose husband wanted to marry her younger sister but married her instead, from the man who had to leave school at twelve to become an accountant, and help his mother raise his brother and sister decently;
I am from that large box which once held our dirty linen and now holds all the family memories, from things past that I am trying to reconstruct, from the family puzzle and from my inner puzzle.