My father’s story up until this point is one I really didn’t know. Writing this blog has forced me to discover aspects of his life that remained in the dark. There was just too much pain that would have been dredged up for my father to speak about it. Better that the wound stay hidden. Who knew what demons lurked in the thick, tangled cobwebs of memory?
There was one story, however, that we all heard about: the “story of the apple tree. Perhaps, because it evoked wonder and portended good fortune. One day, after returning from work at Schachandorf, my father fell asleep under a tree.
He dreamt of his rebbe’s sukkah, with a table inside laden with food. While he slept, his fingers scratched the earth, removing the soil bit by bit. When he woke up, he saw that he had dug a small hole. He put his hand inside and pulled out a few dried up apples. Holding them in his hands, he sucked every bit of juice out of them. “If not for the apples,” he said, “I believe I would have died. It gave me a bit more energy.”