Picture of the day

Today I accompanied my 85 year old mother as she got her second Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine…

It’s good to know that she will now be protected from the virus.

The Richard mask

We are going to the most southern point of The Netherlands next week to a rented self-contained cottage for our holiday and we plan on going for outings into Belgium and Germany as well, maybe even drive to Luxemburg for a day. We know the mask rules are stricter in those countries than they are here, so Mr Esther wanted to order a few extra face masks to take with us on holiday. He is a heraldry geek and ordered masks with the coat of arms he had once designed for himself and had registered as his own…

(Yeah, his ‘Corona beard’ is getting long!) He ordered them in three designs but as they came in a set of four, he had a special mask made for me as well. Ever supportive of me and my fangirling, he ordered a mask with the painting my mother had once made for me of The Crucible

Here is the mask in more detail..

Pretty cool, right?

Masks here in The Netherlands so far are only mandatory in public transport, not in other public spaces. Restrictions here aren’t as tight anymore and this week the news came that Covid 19 cases are on the rise again. It won’t surprise me if masks become mandatory here in public indoor spaces like shops and restaurants as well, which means I may be using this mask far more than just our holiday. So, Richard Armitage on my mouth and nose – not a bad way to walk around this summer.

Golden years

My younger brother found old slides in my mother’s apartment, I took them to be digitalized a few weeks ago in a store near me and today picked up the end result on a USB stick. What a little treasure it turned out to be! Memories of the golden years of my childhood came rushing back to me when I looked at the pictures, most of which were new to me.

The pictures of my childhood home brought out such warm feelings. This following picture was taken from the side of our house. We lived downstairs and there were two small, separate apartments upstairs that were rented to other people. The laundry you see drying must have been from our upstairs neighbour. I remember little of her (she moved away halfway through my childhood), I just remember she was an old lady called Frau Barur who liked to eat flowers and she scared me a bit. I remember she showed us pictures of herself as a dancer before the war, I think she was of Hungarian origin but not sure about that. She was also an Auschwitz survivor, I remember the number tattoo on her arm.

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The back of our house looked like this (you can see where the stairs are leading up to the upstairs apartment). We used to play on that little wall under the window. That used to be my bedroom that I shared with my older sister, I later moved to another bedroom. This picture was taken before I was born, though.

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In this next picture my older siblings are seated to the left of that back door to the garden and underneath the window that in later years would be the room I shared with my younger brother and sister. This looks like it was taken in the summer of 1968.

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We looked out over the valley from that side of the house and I used to adore looking at that view, at the houses below us and the rocks and trees and tiny buildings across the valley. I love that there’s a picture of that view in these slides. It’s also the view I remember seeing from my second bedroom at that side of the house. Between the trees, at the other side of the valley, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is located. I remember looking toward those trees, trying to make out the museum and really wanting to visit it. My parents never let me, though, as they thought I was too young for that (we lived there until I was 10). I finally did visit Yad Vashem years later.

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Another picture taken at the end of the 1970s (I think, going by how big my younger brother and sister are here) shows how our back garden matured. We used to love to play there.

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The pictures also include a few with my oldest brother before he died at age 7 from an accident in March of 1969 (a year before I was born). This is him at the back of the house…

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… and planting trees (I think) with my father, my grandfather and other people I don’t know. That blue Renault was ours. I think I have a flash of a memory of it, but not sure whether it’s a real memory or just a memory connected to seeing pictures of it. In my mind it was a darker blue, though. I think these pictures were also taken during the summer of 1968.

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Speaking of my grandfather, there are also pictures of him and my grandmother. I barely remember my grandfather, he died when I was 4, but I do remember feeling a great warmth for him. This picture of him, taken somewhere in the Old City of Jerusalem, may be one of my fave pictures that I know of him! I have no idea who those kids are.

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I also very much like this one of my grandmother relaxing. I think it was taken in the gardens of the nearby convent which had a guesthouse. My grandparents stayed there when they visited. Our house also belonged to that convent, we hired our house from the kind and fun nuns who lived there.

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I think I even know the exact spot where this following picture of my grandfather was taken, right outside the convent’s guesthouse.

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The official entrance to the convent looked like this. The man in the picture is my grandfather, I don’t know who the lady is.

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There are also a few pictures from inside the house. We used to have an old olive press right in the middle of our living room. This picture was taken after my brother died and before my mother’s pregnancy with me showed, I think it must be fall of 1969 going by the sweaters everyone is wearing. The curtains behind the olive press lead to the door to our back garden.

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The next few pictures were taken during Christmas of (I think) 1976 when I was 6 years young. I’m the little blonde girl. We had a load of guests that year and were singing all kinds of Christmas carols. The first picture is of me and my brother performing a song, probably “Little Donkey” which is the only thing I ever remember performing with him.

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There were also some lovely pictures of my dad. In the second picture of all the clergy coming out of the church, my dad is the man in the middle (dressed in black). The third picture is typical of how my dad used to gesticulate when he spoke, I love that picture.

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Last, but not least, when my parents were engaged in 1959-1960 they went to Israel for a year (before moving there again in 1967). My dad was studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a year and my mother worked as a librarian in Tiberias at the ‘Scots Hospice’. They used to visit each other during weekends. This picture was of them during that time…

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The final picture I want to share here is of my mother and some sheep. Somehow this picture has a “the hills are alive with the sound of music” vibe to me. Going by the fact that my mother is wearing the same outfit as in the picture above, I think this may be outside Tiberias.

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There are of course more pictures (79 in total!) but these really were my favourites. It’s been so much fun discovering them.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, especially to my own mother whom I love very dearly!

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My mother is a remarkable woman with a big heart, raising children she gave birth to and children she didn’t give birth to (of Palestinian and Ethiopian backgrounds).

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A mother hen very much at the center of our family, the glue that keeps us together and a shining example for me as a mother myself.

2010- IMG_2634I loved becoming a mother, whether becoming one through an unexpected c-section seven days after the due date…

… or through a scheduled and induced birth thirteen days after the due date…

Having (only) two children of my own makes me have an even greater respect for what my mother has done with eight children (and more who have also temporarily been in our family).  So, while on this Mother’s Day I am happy to be a mother myself, my thoughts mostly go out to my own mother who is awesome.

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I am happy she is still around and healthy at 84.

Message from my mother

My mother finally got around to watching Anne with an E after I had recommended it to her, oh, a long while back! I only found out she was watching it yesterday during a phone call with my brother who’s staying with her during this corona crisis. He too likes the show and thinks that Amybeth McNulty who plays Anne is really good. They were already halfway through season 3 when I talked to him yesterday afternoon. Then, this afternoon my mother called me and asked me, “Is this really the end of Anne with an E? They go to different colleges and that’s it? And what about Matthew? Doesn’t he die in the book and in that other show we watched in the 1980s? What happens with him now that he doesn’t die? Are there really no more episodes?”
I could hear the disappointment in her voice. Turns out she had binged the rest of season 3 yesterday evening until midnight and now she wants more.

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And it’s not only Anne she loves, she is very enamoured with Matthew (“such a sweet, gentle man of few words”) and she loves Marilla too (“a stoic woman of farming stock with a hidden soft core”). She just doesn’t want to let these characters go yet either. Oh, how I can understand her feeling of loss!

Alas, I had to give her the bad news that the show was prematurely cancelled by Netflix and CBC. I also told her there’s a fight going online to save the show and, although I have campaigned less in the last few weeks due to other priorities, I am still definitely rooting for and fighting for a renewal of Anne with an E! My mother is 84, not internet savvy and social media is beyond her – she can just about follow what’s happening on our family WhatsApp and on Facebook but she has never posted anything herself ever in her life. Even so, she does want in on the fight to get Anne renewed and I told her I could pass her message along.

So, here is my mother’s message to the powers that be: “I am devastated (her word!) that there are no plans to renew the show for a 4th season. How can that be? It cannot end here, the story isn’t finished yet! You just have to renew Anne with an E!”

And hey, CBC and Netflix, you wouldn’t deny an old and great mother, would you? She has the biggest heart but she can be stern too, so if my mama says Anne with an E should be renewed, you’d better listen!