May 02, 2008

Holocaust Remembrance Day and Vivi's elementary school project

Dear Tamar -- Hi! How are you? Is Tel Aviv nice? In school, we are doing a historical fiction novel. I'm doing mine in WWII. It's about a girl and her family who take in a Jewish family. I would like to use your name as the mother in the Jewish family. If that is okay, please say yes. I can't wait for your response. See you soon. Love, Vivi

Dear Author Vivi!
— I love you, and I love your letter and question. I am THRILLED to be the mother in the Jewish family. I hope "we" are taken into a family as loving as yours. Did I ever tell you that a Catholic convent in Turin, Italy, took in my mother's Italian cousins Miriam and Aviva during World War II? As Jews, their lives were in mortal danger especially during that period. Both girls were almost swayed into the Catholic faith because they were at an age (around yours) when fitting in is s-o-o-o-o important. After the war, they came out of hiding and were returned to their parents. They slowly adjusted to who they were before the war (not that you can ever undo life experiences and be who you once were). In their later years, they both moved to Israel. Oh, I am doing great and Tel Aviv is a really fabulous place. Kisses, Tamar

Dear Tamar -- Thanks so much for being in my book. It's really cool that your relations were taken in by a Catholic convent. But it must have been sort of awkward. And speaking of awkward, I forgot to tell you some big news: Kramers is dead. It's very sad, isn't it? I don't know how he died, but he was at least 14. That's pretty old, for a cat. Anyway, we can't wait until you get back. Love, Vivi

NOTE: Ten-year-old Vivienne is a honors student at a public elementary school for high achievers in Atlanta, Georgia. We have been friends about ten years. Vivi plays piano and flute, is an active Girl Scout, studies ballet, and has performed in the Cherub Choir and Junior Choir at Trinity Presbyterian Church. An adoring younger sister to Caroline, Vivi appears regularly on this blog. Previous posts include —


Madeline said...

I learned so much about the Inman Park Festival by following the Vivi links (what an awesome friend!). I love the picture of your cat on the computer.

Pete said...

You can always count on kids like Vivi to demonstrate how people can get along across social, cultural, ethnic, racial and religious differences.

The basic requirement seems to be a willingness not to be afraid of differences.

Several years ago, I met a wonderfully wise Catholic priest who was known as Father Bill. I am not a Catholic myself but I attended Father Bill's Sunday masses for several weeks.

His message was easy to understand, if not always easy to live by. He said, "If you are comfortable with your own beliefs, you won't be threatened by mine."

Tamar Orvell said...

Madeline — I loved YOUR Inman Park post. My mantra: Stick with Vivi and emulate her ways, and in so doing, you'll spread joy and hope, within and without.

Pete — Yes, to your observations on getting along with others and on social benefits of a secure, healthy sense of self. Now, we just need to figure out how to repair this broken world so that kids (and adults) have the support systems with which our girl is blessed (and in turn, blesses us).