Fall 2005


This Fall 2005 Newsletter began on our AMTRAK journey to D.C. We were met at Union Station by Camila Jones, and taken to our lodgings in Fairfax, all in preparation to speak the next evening at the Fall for the Book Festival, being held at George Mason University. We have Penny Gilchrist to thank for helping pass the legacy of the Holocaust on to a well-attended audience in the Fairfax County, Virginia area.

Now, just several days later, we are aboard a Delta 757 en route to Utah, for a full week of presentations. This visit came about when Debbie Boutwell, the Library Media Specialist of Lafayette Middle School in Oxford, Mississippi, told her good friend in Utah, Kaye Rhees, Director of the Edith Bowen Laboratory School on the campus of Utah State University in Logan, about my presentations in Mississippi last January. And, that is how so much of it works – via word of mouth – a lot of help from media specialists, and a little help from the internet!

Hurricane Katrina, reputed to be the most destructive Act of Nature to hit our country, was exactly that, a true act of nature. In comparison, 9/11, which we just recently commemorated, was the complete opposite – a deliberate and destructive act by man – as was the Holocaust.

Perhaps acts of nature are difficult to guard against and prevent, but surely there must be a way to prevent wanton acts of aggression by human kind. My antidote is love, respect and tolerance towards one another. This is one of the primary reasons why I feel the need to speak to, and with, as many people as possible (especially our young adults) in the hope of achieving understanding among peoples. A tall order!
Of course, one of the many bonuses of traveling from community to community, and from school to school, is meeting the very many wonderful new friends we encounter along the way.

In the coming months, our travels will take us to Mississippi, Illinois, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, Arizona, Colorado – and more! And, of course, there will be the local visits to New Jersey, Connecticut, and our own NY-Long Island area. You bet it is exhausting, but also very, very rewarding.

Speaking of travel, our own grandson, Gavriel, who lives in Israel with his parents and 2 siblings, is just about to embark on a visit to Poland – to witness what is left of the “camps,” and to understand and appreciate, even more fully, the need for the existence of the State of Israel.

MARION’S TRIUMPH, aired by many PBS stations this past spring, was shown by the History Channel in Israel in September. Two markets where the documentary has not aired (as yet) are LA and San Diego. If anyone has any thoughts on how this can be accomplished, please let me know.

As a result of MT being shown in Pittsburgh, a young man, John Holt, who had previously read FOUR PERFECT PEBBLES, after having seen the documentary, had his musical talents re-energized, and he is working on a “musical” based on my memoir and Holocaust experiences. The very first song, sung beautifully by young eleven year old named Lyric, has a haunting melody, and the words so very well capture the feeling of my four pebbles. 

And, a ballet is being written about my story by a choreographer we had met in Germany last April, with the support of the Bergen-Belsen Museum. As Mom says, “these little pebbles, thrown in the pond, are creating so many wonderful ripple effects.”

Nathaniel & I are now aboard our Delta flight back to New York after a most extraordinary week to the “Top of Utah.” On our arrival in Salt Lake, we were met by Kaye Rhees, Director of the Edith Bowen Laboratory School, who was our “contact” person and coordinator of the week’s events. Kaye’s husband, Jerry, smoothly drove us the ninety miles north to Logan, home of Utah State University, which served as our residence. Arriving at sunset, it was too dark to see much on this drive through the canyons, but we did get to see the beautiful mountains in Cache Valley over the entire week’s stay. For the first full 3 days, Jerry transported us from school to school, and sat in many of my presentations. 

All 13 presentations (with audiences ranging from 5th graders through university students and seniors) plus a radio and a TV interview, went extremely well. The hospitality and warmth shown us were exemplary, sincere and genuine. We learned so very much from the fine people who inhabit this beautiful landscape.

Many thanks and much gratitude to Kaye & Jerry, the entire Rhees Family and Marsha & Stu Howell for making this an outstanding visit to the “Top of Utah.” Many thanks also to all in the small but vibrant Jewish Community of Logan, especially the Geller, Caplan and McNamara families, for making us feel so welcome at Friday Night services and Shabbat dinner.

We learned just the day after our return from Utah, of the tragic accident which occured on the highway to Logan. A van, filled with students and an instructor returning to campus, had a rear tire blow-out, cauing the van to crash down in to the canyon, resulting in the deaths of 8 of the passengers, and severe injuries to the 3 other occupants. Our deepest condolences go out to all at Utah State University, and our prayers for the easy and speedy recovery of those injured.
Please, please, wear your seat belt, whether you are in the front, or the back seat, of a vehicle. 

Paper Clips – Tonya Bowman, a teacher at the Northridge Middle School in Ohio, and a good friend from a previous visit to her school, is doing a paper clip project, so that her students can understand the enormity of 6 million lives snuffed out, plus the additional 5 million civilian non-Jewish lives lost, during the Holocaust. If you can possibly send paper clips to her, she would be most grateful. Tonya’s school address is 6066 Johnstown-Utica Road, Johnstown, Ohio 43031.

We are currently in the midst of the Hebrew month of Elul, the month that immediately precedes the Jewish New Year which occurs in the Hebrew month of Tishri. Elul is a month of introspection – a month in which we prepare ourselves for the New Year.

My prayer for you, and all mankind, for the New Jewish Year of 5766, is for good health, contentment and productivity, in a world of love and peace.

Marion (and Nathaniel, too!)