During the Great Depression and WWII, the American people flooded to the cinema. For a few hours, a movie could take them away from their troubles, transporting them some place enchanted, where there was no economic depression or war. Love, endurance, and goodness always triumphed. 1938 saw the production of the Technicolor musical The Wizard of Oz. Home, love, and overcoming adversities were a few of the overarching themes. The magical adventure of Dorothy Gale and her friends fighting against The Wicked Witch and searching for their heart’s desires struck a chord with audiences. The songs in the movie are memorable, but one stands out from all the others. And eighty years later, the song “Over the Rainbow” continues to touch lives.Continue reading
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
The second Mrs. de Winter opens the mysterious novel of Rebecca with that single, dramatic line. Over the years, readers have drawn parallels between the novels Rebecca and Jane Eyre, another romantic gothic tale of an innocent young woman and a worldly older man. Similarly, the man’s first wife casts a shadow over the young woman, and haunts her. A masterful estate acts as a background character, but in my opinion, that is where the parallels end. Du Maurier insisted Rebecca was the study in jealousy, inspired by her own feelings of her husband’s first love. The second Mrs. de Winter is not Jane Eyre… she is far more complex and enigmatic than we give her credit for. There is a darkness within her.Continue reading
Growing up, I had heard my grandfather fought in WWII, but as a kid I really didn’t know in what capacity. My family knew the basics: he was in the ETO; at various points he was in Iceland, England, France, and Germany; he had medals; and worked with the gliders. He rarely spoke of his service and on the off-chance he did, he was vague. Everyone knew better than to pry too much. He avoided flying and planes, and later in life, he suffered PTSD. When he passed, his secrets and experiences died with him.Continue reading
On December 30th, 1998, I turned twelve years old. Like every twelve-year-old, I had a party. Family and friends came over to celebrate and showered me with presents. One stood out among the others and continues to stand out to this day. My aunt’s gift was a girl’s diary. I peeled back the wrapping paper, read the title aloud, and looked to her for an explanation. I had never heard of Anne Frank. It interested me, though, since I was a bookworm.
The following day, I found an inscription inside. Veronica: Anne Frank was just a year older than you when she began this diary. It became her personal refuge when she and her family were forced into hiding from the Nazis. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 and was probably buried in a mass grave, but her thoughts live on. This book has meant a great deal to me since I first read it at age 12. I hope it does to you, as well.—Aunt Barbara.
This intrigued me. Who was Anne? Why was her diary published? Who were the Nazis? I read. Though I liked the girl the diary entries introduced me to, it confused me. Why was she persecuted for being Jewish? What was going on in Europe during the 1940s? At that time in my life, I knew next to nothing about WWII. This was sad since my grandfather had been in the Airborne and fought in the ETO.
Through added research, I soon learned Anne Frank was a girl after my own heart. A deep, abiding love for her developed. Born in Germany, she and her family fled the Fatherland when the Nazis came to power. As Jews, the Nazis would have targeted and killed them if they remained. Anne, her parents, and sister Margot settled in the Netherlands. They lived carefree lives until Germany invaded in 1940. This time the Frank family could not escape. They made plans to go into hiding. Her father, Otto, worked with his friends and employees to prepare for his family’s “disappearance” and their subsequent stay in his office building’s attic. The Frank’s would hide with another family and one other.
On Anne’s thirteenth birthday, she received a gift that changed her life: a diary. In it she recorded all her thoughts and feelings. It became a witness of the suffering she and the other Jews experienced under the thumbs of the Nazis. When it was time for her family to go into hiding, Anne brought her diary with her. For two years, the Frank’s, the van Pel’s family, and Fritz Pfeffer hid in the annex. They hoped one day the war would end and they could be free. Under their noses, Anne blossomed into a wise, strong, independent girl. On hearing a radio broadcast asking for people to save their diaries and letters for post-war publication, she rewrote her diary. Anne intended to publish it someday.
The fateful day came when the Nazis arrested Anne, her family, and friends and sent them to Auschwitz. Only Otto survived. On learning of his daughters’ deaths, one of the helpers gave him Anne’s diary. He published it and spent the rest of his life sharing her story.
They say there is a book that changes your life forever. For me, that was The Diary of Anne Frank. It has influenced me as much as the Bible. My life has never been the same since I met Anne Frank. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust and have written almost as many years writing about it. Anne taught me to persevere, to believe in the good of humanity, to never give up my faith. In 2015, I fulfilled my dream of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Anne, her family and friends, and over a million others perished. Maybe someday I will visit the Frank family’s hiding place. No matter how much studying I do on the Holocaust, I know the next time I open Anne Frank’s diary, I will fall in love with her all over again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the love triangle trope is as popular now as it was when it was first invented. No matter how many versions, how many different settings, and situations—it never grows old. We like it when the heroine feels torn between two different men and must make a heart-wrenching decision. Jane Austen was perhaps the queen of the love triangle since it featured so often in her novels. My favorite of hers is in Pride and Prejudice, because the Lizzy, Darcy, and Wickham are so closely linked. The introductions of Darcy and Wickham propels Lizzy’s story forward, and it’s a catalyst for Lizzy’s prejudice against Darcy and preference for Wickham. Continue reading
My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result, you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still…
Your affectionate Godfather,
CS Lewis Continue reading
While now known through Jane Austen aficionados as one of Austen’s favorite novelists, for a while the world largely forgot Frances “Fanny” Burney. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Fanny’s social satires and comedy of manners were the books to read. Young Jane Austen subscribed to a circulating library to read Fanny’s latest novel. It influenced her enough she borrowed from said works and incorporated them in her own canon. The wealthy man’s pursuit of a social inferior, the buffoonish suitor, vulgar relatives, the name Willoughby, the phrase “Pride and Prejudice” itself—all originated with Fanny Burney. Continue reading
While the Russian Revolution technically began in March 1917, it comprised two rebellions. The seeds of the revolt had been taking root for decades and to understand how and why it happened, one must take a quick glimpse at Russian history. Continue reading
How do myths and legends begin? Is there a kernel of truth at the heart of these stories? Or over time do we fall in love with ideas and romances, and that as a result, we create other worlds to distract ourselves? Continue reading
Audiences best know Rosa Parks for her refusal to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, which impacted the Civil Rights Movement and led to a city-wide boycott of the transit system, but her story doesn’t begin or end there. Continue reading