I was always young, but never naïve. The definition of young and naïve I suppose, contributed to what sometimes could be a complicated definition of childhood. I was young of course; and no matter what some might say, I think everybody was a child at some point in their lives. But naïve? Some people I knew would say that their problem was not growing up fast enough. Whereas, I think I grew up too fast. Briana said it, Angelo teased me for it, even mama would tell me that I sometimes forgot how to be a teenager. But in such times we lived in, could she blame me? Living in the jailed half of France during a war, it didn’t pay to be ignorant. For where there was ignorance, there was room for cold, hard deception.
I suppose it’s more appropriate for me to say this now. I am old, as is my husband and my sister. I’ve done things, seen things my grandchildren, not even my children could ever imagine. And so it was only expected of me to bestow wisdom upon the youth who yearned to know how their grandparents and great aunt lived through such a time. I told them they wouldn’t like what they’d might hear; that they would by the end, like me, be trying to convince themselves it wasn’t real. That it was all just a short, horrific nightmare. But then, with my husband holding my hand, I would straighten myself out and slowly, descend into my own story. ‘They need to know,’ he would tell me, ‘Don’t they say that we must remember, to ensure it never happens again?’ He was right-as he always was. And so, with a fountain pen I hadn’t used in sixty eight years, I began to write it all down. Admittedly, I felt a little like poor, Anne Frank as I sat in that small room that used to be my husbands office before he retired. But there was a difference between her and me. She didn’t make it through: I did.