Rita. A little blond head, somewhere, feeding the chickens, in the sunshine of Germany. During the years when Hitler roused the stadiums roaring loud…

Rita. There she is. Her daughter Nancy found some old photos. In her drawers. And she crafted them into the poem whose title will be «Rita».

She is a little child like millions of children. A little German girl among millions of golden braided girls, laughing, singing and dancing and crunching red cherries.


Yes, it’s I! Standing by my Grandfather’s white and brown oxen. That is I, giving him my hand, because my Grandfather is blind. He enjoys feeling my tiny hand in his large hand, callous with work. He loves my frail little hand to lead him on his way down, when the sun gets low…


Yes, here I am, slightly taller, sitting with my back against the sunbathed wall of our house, over there, in the village where the church steeple turns green, like the trees and the meadows, like the orchards or the fir-trees, up the mountain slopes. How beautiful and varied the colors of my homeland! How lovely and rich the tones of green of each meadow, of each leaf, in our large trees! They look so pretty, like the silk threads of the spools of silk, that my Grandma stands in lines in front of her sewing machine, or in the cupboard where she keeps her ribbons!

For Grandma has sewed for me a neat apron, with a braid trimming embroidered of roses, daisies, cornflowers and ears of wheat, which mingle and twine ever so gracefully. The colors are bright, and they seem to move as joyfully as my legs and my hands, when we girls would join hands, singing and dancing around the cherry-trees!

It is Grandma who showed me how to sew. She had a like for me and always said that I was a quick learner. She also taught me how to bake raspberry tarts and plum «Küchen», and even how to extend the dough, to bake her delicious «Apfelstrüdeln»…

How delightful it was to be at home, when Grandpa would put the wooden yoke on his oxen, his large and gentle oxen, which paced so stately, along the fields…


Yes, it is I, in the dreadful years of war. When the sky became the foe.

One day, it thundered down upon the house, shattering all. The shell, they said, came from American factories.

I could not imagine, then, that an American guy, who worked in armament, would, one day dare have me laugh, joking that he himself might have shaped the shell, which fell on my family home…

«Right, Rita?…» he winked at our visitor, on Crest Hill Drive.

Yes, I am the little blond head, winking in the dazzling sunshine, throwing grains to the chickens…

It WAS not: it IS I!

Even as I now sit, nailed to the wheelchair, with my legs, once nimble and so eager to dance; with these hands that so well knew how to sew costumes and embroider altar clothes, but can no more grasp a thread; even when my lips, which so much enjoyed chanting in church, are no longer able to mouth a phrase; even if the words that I endeavor to speak to my husband, children and grandchildren, refuse to come forth; even when I bite into my arm in my efforts to say «thank you», even though my mouth keeps drooling, and if my poor eyes gaze widely, striving to show that I understand you all; even if the malady let you believe that I am no longer with you, my dear ones, yet I am here !…

This is I, Rita, the little blond head, winking in the sunshine, in Busenberg, my homeland…

Rita. It is I. Long before the camera captured these images, it is I again, that infant, swaddled in white linens, who is carried to the New York church, where I got baptized. And they named me: Rita.

Nine months or so before that day, it is I, again, unseen to anyone, yet there, in my mother’s womb, not heavier than the head of one of these little pins, green or pink… Indeed, here I am. I am no more than the invisible cell, hidden in a woman’s entrails. Yet it is I, Rita, and none other, already there.

Mother is not aware of it. Neither is Dad. They do not know that from Alois Kohler and Anna Boshan’s bloods, their mingled and intertwined bloods, I entered life!… Full human life, soon to beat in a very, very minute heart: my heart.

I know nothing then.

Once Mother became aware that within her, another life has come, which is not hers and yet sprouted from her, as much as from Dad together, she weeps silently. Sitting in her room in New York, she wonders why she weeps… Maybe the sudden awareness of a new life shakes her and proves too big for her?

Then Dad likewise weeps, hugging her, so frail and warm against his heart that goes pounding in his chest, stronger than usual.
«What name shall we call the…» he whispers, his fingers wiping an unwanted tear.

«Margaret?… Rita?…»

I went by «Rita».

Something in my parents’ couple led them to part. They thought it better for their two little daughters to be temporarily placed into the hands of our loving grandparents, in Busenberg, Germany.

Before I left our home on Crest Hill Drive, to follow Edward, and now that my ruined body lies under ground, resting in expectation of the Hour to retrieve it, in its full bloom, as promised, I know…

I know that another tiny, tiny Rita, is on her way, growing on earth, in the womb of a young mother, who took so good care of Edward and myself, and who lives and works so far away from her homeland, Africa…

Little black Rita, you whom I shall greet in Heaven, I can today see you, through the eyes of our Father! And, from where I live now and forever, I want to tell you all, my friends:

Rita the golden haired girl, Rita the black haired one, we shall both dance together, on the New Earth, where Time is no more, where we shall be fully ourselves, unique and glorious in everlasting Joy, for which we were created. All and each one of us!

February 14th 2019 Saint Valentine’s Day

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