Sunday, January 22, 2006
Anne Frank and Fritz
Well, I've gotten too many kind responses from my loyal readers to give up on Blogging. I'm going to slowly start getting it back together; small baby steps at a time. So, reverie times...

(Clouds gathering, everything gets fuzzy...)

Two Days Ago: I was at Ikea (again) with Michael. Damn that place. DAMMIT! Michael and I have become so adept at navigating the store that we can get through the showroom with its throngs of Asian gaggles and yuppie chicks in a matter of oppossed to the first trip, which took us an entire week and a large amount of Ikea Cinnamon Rolls. Anyway, we were traversing the bedroom section with lightening speed when a very tall, thin couple bounced into me. The body to hit me first in the ribcage was at least 6'2"--broad shoulders, blonde, with a handsomely squared jaw. Then, her husband richocheted into my head. He was taller, blonder, and his face was slightly diminutive in comparison to his wife.

"Ich der fugbberstein Stupid American!" she said as she scowled at my head.
"Kjearnd eine floorboard!" he spat.
"Sorry, krauts!" I said.
"VHAT????!" screamed the woman. There were some German veins sticking out of her neck.
"No, it's okay. I can say that because I'm German, too!" I said.
"Nein! Voo ich Stoopid American! Voo have no pureness in your blood! Just look how short and stubby you are, Fat American! Vhat, you think because you listen to Rammstein voo are German?? Ach! Nein!"
During some part of this heated exchange, an Orthodox Jew wandered into the same area. He was looking for a new sectional.
"What is this?" he screamed in the general direction of our Foriegn Friends.
"VHAT?" screamed Thor--she had ripped off a sleeve to expose a tanned arm, bulging with muscle.
"Nazis!" the Jew spit at all of us.

"No, no!" I cried, "I'm not one of THEM! I'm American!"
This may have been one of only a few times that I was proud to claim this.
Now, close your eyes. We're drifing backwards, through time. I'm ten years old. The school system has put me in an advanced Literature class to make the sting of the remedial Math class less painful. We're given a book report assignment.

I think we could choose from several different books. Let's see: there was an opportunity to discuss "Where the Wild Things Are" from a socio-economic perspective; "101 Dalmations: The Subjugation of Breeding in Captivity" was another option. I bypassed these and went straight to the most depressing book ever written: "The Diary of Anne Frank".

For three weeks, I lived in fear of anything German-sounding, like my last name. I would drag my dresser over to the door and block myself in for the evening. I shut all the curtains and peered outside from time to time, waiting for the Gestapo to find me and my yellow star. I began to scratch out missives and thoughts in my diary, counting down the hours until I would surely be captured and sent to a Death Camp. When it came time to present the book report, my mother (a wise woman) suggested that instead of showering and getting some fresh air, I simply present the book report from the first person, dressed as Anne herself.

My mother was so enchanted with this idea, she made an armband for me and made a wool skirt. She even made Dad buy me leather penny loafers to complete the look of a forties' schoolgirl. The morning of the report, I slicked my curly blonde hair down in a drab manner. I bypassed the pink jacket for a somber brown thing. I frowned and looked sad. I believed I was Anne Frank, walking to her own death in the Camps. There was a small entourage of teachers guiding me through the halls of school; apparently, my delicate condition raised concern. The time had come: I sat in a blackened school room and gave my report, using the light squeezing through the blinds as backlighting. It was true: I had become Anne Frank.

I made an A on the report, but I don't know if it was worth it. Ever since then, I'm haunted by the words of a thirteen year old girl who survived for one year in an attic, living with eight other people, hoping to survive Death. For this year, she wrote. Her words were stronger as a child's then mine shall ever be. The light borrowed from the sky was bleak and indifferent; the only friends she had were the swallows, and they never told the Gestapo her hiding place. And at the end of this year, as the War was drawing to a close, the Gestapo found her and her father, mother, sister, and the five other people dwelling in a space beyond a wall in an office building.

Anne and her sister and mother all perished in the Kamps...she died of pneumonia and poor nourishment. Only her father survived, and he published her diary. Man, what a Dad, huh?

At Ikea, I was reminded of Anne. The Germans who were yelling at me weren't Nazis; they were simply tall people speaking a harsh language. In actuality, they didn't bump into me at all. I don't think they even saw me. But I responded to them as I responded to my deceased Grandfather...with a little fear and awe. Granddad still spoke a little bit of German, and his father had ONLY spoken German for years and years. There was something eerie in hearing those hard syllables at Ikea. It spoke to me of Anne's demise, of North Dakota and rolling plains of nothing but gray, of my own broad shoulders and blonde hair, and what it means to be German-American.

I wound up spending sixty bucks at Ikea. I went home and put my new pillows in their pillowcases. We hung a shelf up. We installed some lights. We hung some of our artwork up. And I thought of Anne.

I hope they still read that book in schools.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

Location: Detroit Rock City!
Where the weak are killed and eaten

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    We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. Through the unknown, unremembered gate When the last of earth left to discover Is that which was the beginning; At the source of the longest river The voice of the hidden waterfall And the children in the apple-tree Not known, because not looked for But heard, half-heard, in the stillness Between two waves of the sea. Quick now, here, now, always— A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one. -T.S. Eliot "Little Gidding"

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