A Mother’s Day Gift to My Children – Part IV

American life was strained from the beginning.  Americans in general and Jews in particular were not as welcoming and protective as the family expected them to be; adjusting to life in Accord, NY, and then in Kingston, was a perpetual challenge.  The business Papa’s brother promised to set up took far too long and cut far too deeply into their reserves, and Charlotte couldn’t find a cello teacher who could stay even a step ahead of her.  News began to come from Europe about those who had not survived: slowly, the family learned that three of their mother’s siblings and their father’s favorite sister had perished, and so had Thea Matzner and her entire family.  They slogged on, and Mom even managed to prevail against all odds; she was accepted into a premed program at the University of Vermont, a miraculous achievement considering she had been enrolled in three different high schools in the mere two years she had been in America, and she had had to take SATs a full year earlier!

UVM offered unexpected solace and belonging at a critical moment in Mama’s life

Then, in 1943, the long-awaited son, the light that had brought life back to his parents’ eyes, Hannes Edward died in yet another freak accident at the age of 15.  Charlotte once again took on the mantle of blame — she had been away at college and had not been there to do . . . what? . . . anything.

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