Friday, August 22, 2014


So the lovely Fiona, fair flower of Northern Ireland, came in like the angel she is, just at the right moment to straighten me out, sort of.  I have not been Myself, whoever She is, having been so unsettled by various computer crises(is that the plural?) that I literally lost my way, at one point could not remember where I lived, and when I got a taxi driver to consider taking me there, was told, rather scathingly, that it was the "Jewish section." So was uncovered what is not exactly a hotbed of anti-Semitism, the climate in Amsterdam being too cold and wet to allow for that description, but was, most certainly, a strong indication that the problem that has long plagued what I cannot deny are my people, still exists Big Time.  
     I first understood that on this sojourn when the Chinese doctor, (he says he is, though there is no evidence of a medical education as we insist on it, everything being overpriced herbs) said "those Jews, they think they are God," and I realized I was friendless in Amsterdam.  This is not considering Daniel, the fine,  cheery and handsome Brit who sat beside me on the plane from Glasgow, more or less the reason why I had the courage to take this bold and ballsy step, not to mention the apartment, or the darling young couple whose baby waved to me across the canal, a distance it is nearly impossible to imagine anyone can see, but Fiona assures me one year olds can and babies are her specialty, or the lovely woman who runs Filter, the coffee shop/hostel downstairs. 
     But the truth of it is I am an older woman, and this is a curious time of life to strike out anew, especially in this climate-- meaning not only the way the world is, but someplace where, apparently, any good weather has been an accident, and will clearly not come again.  And this village-- it truly cannot be called a city-- that saved Anne Frank, for a while, anyway, might not have done so if it had been a communal decision.  The Dutch were apparently more than willing, eager, you might say, to give up their Jews to the Nazis.     All of this particularly fascinating to me because I have never really thought of myself as a Jew, except in the presence of anti- Semitism.  I was privileged to go to Bryn Mawr, where they did not ask you on your application what your religion was, and some of my best friends were Gentiles, and had names like 'Muggy.' 
     So it is clearly time to go home, wherever that is.  It is harder now because there are no longer travel agents leaning over counters being eager and helpful, and I am, obviously, cloddish on the computer.  But I will find a way, and get there, and, hopefully get the suitcase I left at the Marriott in London, returned to the one next door to me on Central Park South.
     This is the first time in my life, I think, that I have given up on an adventure.  But then I have defined adventure in several of my novels, and in one of them, as "you don't know how it will turn out," which was certainly the case in this version.
    I love you all, whoever you are, and am touched that there are people I don't know who have actually been reading this.  Stay well and hope that the world, eventually, will be a better place.
     Fiona reminded me that I gave Peter Mandelson, 'the Prince of Darkness' as he is known in political circles in the UK, a copy of the Happy book when I first went to Northern Ireland.  So apparently I was either as audacious and nervy as he is, in a slightly more charming way, or really stupid.