On Shoes
Christmas Eve
Mother's Letter-1
Mother's Letter-2

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On Shoes

Each time we were about to undertake a journey, my mother took me to buy a new pair of shoes. There were the little red ones, which we bought in Prague after buying several meters of Damask, choosing from the many floral patterns. I broke in my new red shoes walking under the Prague Castle walls, through tunneled passageways. I left Czechoslovakia wearing them, and they took me to the Middle East.

In Haifa I got a pair of sandals to walk the sandy streets, and soon my feet were as tanned as the natives’ feet. The sandals had only two straps – I wondered if they were anything like those which Moses wore to cross the desert.

In Tel Aviv I got a new pair of shoes of soft white leather in preparation for our journey back to Europe, where we would seek a new place to live our lives, we hoped, in peace. I wore the shoes ever so carefully, protecting them from creasing, trying to make them last, not knowing when the next pair would come. I wore them in Capri along with the handed-down dress sent from America. My father wanted us to visit the underwater caves there, arguing it was likely our last chance to see them, for how often in our lives would such an opportunity present itself? But the caves were not visited, not then nor anytime afterward in our lives together.

I was still wearing my white Tel Aviv shoes more than a year later, after we had emigrated to America -- first to Miami, and then to Queens, New York. 2001: A Space Odyssey had recently opened in the theaters, and one night my father took me to see it – against my mother’s wishes, of course. She didn’t believe that newly arrived immigrants should be spending the few dollars they possessed on fantasies. My father fought her all the way, then and for years to come.

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