Miriam's Blog

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

by Miriam Keesing

Friday morning I pack up once again, and catch a flight to la Guardia, NY. I am coming down with a cold!

From the airport I drive to Woodbury on Long Island and go straight to Ruth Amster Meador. She is one of the group of children that Mrs. Wijsmuller got on board the ss Bodegraven on May 14th, 1940. The interview with Ruth goes well, even though Ruth was very young she can provide me with a lot of material. She and her husband Lou had invited me for Shabbat dinner, and I really enjoy both the dinner and the company.

Saturday morning I have breakfast with Rudy Appel, after which I interview Rudy in my hotel room. Rudy spend most of the war in Belgium and France, so this is a very interesting, and different, story.

I buy a box of tissues and drive to East Northport to meet Hella Pakter Doman. I had not had direct contact with Hella yet, so first we sit down and I tell her about my research. After that I interview her. Again, I am quite happy with how that goes. Hella invites me for dinner, in her favourite Italian restaurant nearby. It is quite a treat to meet so many nice people! I go to bed very early, hoping that will shake off my cold.

Sunday morning I pack up once again and drive to Queens, to see the house where my father lived between 1943 and 1946. It is very special to me to see this. Then comes the part that I had feared slightly: driving across Manhattan to New Jersey. It’s a piece of cake though, goes very smoothly, and I am right on time at the hotel for my next appointment. Unfortunately it turns out there’s been some misunderstanding. Harry, whom I thought to meet today, did not count on me, but as I am contemplating how to fix this dent in my schedule, Norbert Ripp, whom I had planned to see Tuesday, shows up. So the problem is quickly solved! Norbert and his lovely wife Evelyn take me out for lunch, after which we sit down for the interview on the porch of their beautiful house in Tenafly. Again, I am quite happy, even though I had not prepared this one as well as I would have liked. Afterwards we talk, and eat some pizza, after which Norbert takes me back to the hotel.

Monday morning is a morning off! What a (welcome) luxury. I take it easy, go running, shopping, and do my laundry.