The Last Diamond

May 4, 2008
By
“Three,” she repeated to herself for the fifth time. Her blue eyes were still blue at this point told by the slight glare of the diamonds. After the briefest of kisses, she tucked the three in a place the SS soldier would not be able to find when he would ask her to strip one hour later. She boarded the train, a third of her life behind her waving, another third in her only average sized carryon and a third holding her hand, fresh wedding rings touching.

The man inspecting tickets walked back and forth down the aisle with a sign around his neck that read, ‘France’ in capital letters. They did not care where the train was headed as long as it was somewhere far, far from anywhere Hitler’s fingers could grip, even if that meant far, far away from Poland. She clung to my grandfather’s large black coat and swore to herself she would not fall asleep, but fear would not even let an eyelid drop.

Just a week prior, she was walking her dog down the street. A couple days before, she was complaining about college. And only hours passed after she smiled at her father, embraced her mother and kissed her younger sister for the very last time.

They settled nicely in France and lived there comfortably for almost two years; nicely, if your definition of nice is a foreign country with foreign people and familiar fear and comfortably if it is defined as leaving a one thousand acre lot and a chauffer driven life for a cramped apartment. They barely made it, and wouldn’t have if not for the first diamond.

1946: The leave for America. Hitler’s arm was extending even further and my grandparents made the final decision which landed them on Ellis Island, then Manhattan, and finally to park in Buffalo, New York; a place they would call home sweet home for the rest of their lives. The second diamond left my grandmother’s stone cold grip for a check to last them their first few years in New York. After her husband passed the English written medical exam to become a doctor in less than six months, he pursued his career with my grandmother as his medical lab technician. Life turned out well in this new land and a family soon started. She had her first child in 1951, her second in 1953 and the third and final boy in 1956. She loved them with everything in her, but no girls. No girl she could brag to about her winning the Miss Teenage Europe award. No one whom she could wrap the last diamond around the neck of. And no one to tell, “Live on the history.” Her boys grew up and another generation came along with her boys as fathers. So on July 18th 1991, when a seven pound, three ounce baby girl was born with the bluest eyes, she cried; her wait was over.

I am on this earth to tell her she is still beautiful when she sees a recent picture of herself and mutters a discouraging comment. I am here to receive the last diamond on July, 18th 2013, when I turn twenty one. I am here, her first and only granddaughter, to write my grandmother’s story; to carry on the history.





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