Dei'ah Vedibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

13 Kislev 5766 - December 14, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Home and Family


by Sara Gutfreund

The Green Marble

For many years, my husband and I stayed in our large, family house even after the children had married and moved away. We thought that it made sense to keep it, since the children and grandchildren would come home often for Shabbos and Yom Tov. Even though it was difficult to maintain, I was happy to stay in our home. This is the same home where all our children were born and where we have shared both joys and sorrows. Each room had a special place in my heart.

This story really begins after my husband passed away. He had been sick for some time, but whenever my children tried to speak to me about where I would live "after," I didn't want to hear of it. At first, I just kept insisting that their father would pull through. I just couldn't accept that he was dying. And after he passed away, I didn't want to leave the house. All of my children tried to persuade me that the house was far too big for just one person and it had too many memories of my husband. But I told them that I wanted those memories, and it would hurt too much to part with our home.

Everything changed one day when I tripped over a step and broke my hip. Suddenly, I was dependent on my children for everything. At first, I moved into one of my daughter's apartments, but it was small and the grandchildren were a little noisy to be around twenty-four hours a day. I discussed the situation with my children, and I reluctantly agreed that it didn't make sense for me to live in the house alone, anymore. We found a nice assisted living facility nearby, and my children said that they would work together to pack my things. As soon as they could, they would put the house up for sale.

I'm not telling this story to criticize my children because I know that they had the best of intentions in the saga that follows. I'm telling my story in order to warn others, if they should come across a similar situation. I was never a very materialistic person and though many of my possessions had sentimental meaning to me, I knew that they wouldn't be able to fit into my new one-bedroom apartment. But I did ask my children to please bring me all of my personal things so I could go through them myself. I assumed that they would understand that I meant all of my things, but unfortunately, some things in my drawers just didn't look worth saving to them. It really was my fault that I forgot to tell them about the green marble.

The green marble is all I have left from my family that perished in the Holocaust. When we were being deported, my four-year-old brother handed me his favorite green marble and whispered, "Bayla, please keep it for me until later." Tragically, there was never a "later" and my precious little brother died a few weeks later in one of the camps. Throughout those horrific years in Treblinka I held on to that marble for dear life. I took it with me everywhere, and when we were freed, I kept it with me as we rebuilt our lives.

I put it in a special place in my dresser drawer, and I would take it out from time to time to remember my brother and my parents. Somehow, it comforted me, and when my husband died, I would go to hold it when no one was looking. I'm not sure why I kept it a secret from my children. I never wanted to bring that depth of sadness into their lives, so I never spoke about those years. I thought that I was protecting them.

When I broke my hip and went into the hospital, I left the green marble in its place. It was safer there, I thought. And when my children agreed to bring me all of my things, I was sure that they would bring it with all of my other jewelry and clothes.

I searched desperately for it when I arrived in my new apartment, and it was nowhere to be found. I asked my son about it, and he thought for a minute and said, "Oh, I think Moshe threw out the tissues and old clips and that marble. Why, do you need it?"

I felt tears spring to my eyes, and I was about to finally tell my children the story. But the loss was too painful right then, and I didn't want to make them feel guilty. So I made myself smile right then and said.

"That's alright. It's okay." And I decided that when I gathered up the courage, I would share my story, at least with the readers, so that parents would make sure to tell their children to keep items that they want. After all, one person's garbage is another person's treasure.


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