Renia: A Holocaust Memoir

Table of Contents

In the months following my husband’s death, I was so broken up I didn’t know what to do. The people I worked with at the beauty salon persuaded me come back to work — three or four days a week — which helped. And I did whatever I could to assist Rick with his paper work and phone calls. Eva, who was very capable, was working full time with Rick.

Because they were both so young, Eva and Rick had trouble getting the men at the work site to do what they asked. Rick thought maybe he could get more respect if he looked a little older, so he tried growing a moustache, but it wasn’t very thick. To compensate, he filled it in with an eyebrow pencil and it looked much better. One day he was on the site, yelling at one of the carpenters. It was raining and his moustache began running down his lip. Rick says the carpenter had a strange look on his face as he tried to keep himself from laughing. After that, Rick shaved off the moustache.

Gina and Adi Kobler.

Gina and Adi Kobler.

I couldn’t continue living in the townhouse any more — there were too many memories there. I’d felt the same way about the storefront we’d been living in after my mother died. So we sold the townhouse and put a down payment on a house in Thornhill. Things continued to be difficult for us financially for a long time. I would borrow from one to give to another. But thanks to Rick’s hard work, things finally started to look up. I was slowly able to repay the people who’d been kind enough to loan us money; I repaid every penny.

Eva and Rick were very good to me. At first, they didn’t want to go out of the house at the same time and leave me alone. One of them always stayed home with me until I put a stop to that. Sometimes if they were both going to be out, Rick would drive me to a friend’s, often to Gina and Adi’s. But I’m a worrier. When the kids were out at night, I’d be standing by the window at eleven o’clock waiting for them to come home. I used to tell them to call me. “Come home as late as you want,” I’d tell them, “just give me a call to let me know you’re okay.” Even now that they live on their own, I still ask them to call me after we’ve been together, to let me know they got home safely.

As one loved one after another had died, I found myself becoming more and more of a free thinker. “Why do these things happen?” I would ask. “I never did anything to anybody but good,” I would think to myself. And yet by age nineteen I’d lost both my parents. Now at the age of forty-six, I was a widow.

Chapter 8 > 

 


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