Old Brown Suitcase, The

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She only wants to keep her favourite doll and clothes to fit, which is understandable. Now I have a dolly pram, dolls and dolls clothes to go to an orphanage or somewhere similar.

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Not sure where yet. Any ideas anyone? So now the old brown suitcase is empty. What does one do with an old brown suitcase?!! I think, actually, it used to belong to my Aunty Paddy as I recall a tag or sticker with her name on it. I have random memories from that holiday. Nothing of the train journey except on a station platform with my Dad organising our luggage with a porter and my Mum holding Ian, my baby brother who was then not quite two and who was needing a nappy change!!

Old Brown Suitcase, The by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz - Read Online

No chance of escaping!!! Richard and I shared a small inner cabin. No windows! The smell of the air conditioning has followed me for 57 years! To top it all, both Richard and I were confined to the-cabin-with-no-windows for a length of time no idea how long as we were sea-sick! My mum and dad, and Ian being a toddler, had a cabin with one porthole, just one!!

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It was one of those cabins down at practically sea level!!!! Never, never, never an inner cabin-with-no-windows!!!!!!!! No no no!! You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Mom's Meanderings. Skip to content. The tales it would tell!! I wonder what other stories of travel and adventure are hidden inside the old brown suitcase ….

Share this: Twitter Facebook. Although he was smiling, he looked tired. I want you to be pleasant to the Rosenbergs. They are so very kind to let us stay with them for awhile. Tomorrow we will explore Montreal together. Would you like that?


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Father asked, putting his arm around my shoulders. I felt better and went slowly down the stairs to dinner. After all, Father was right. It was kind of the Rosenbergs to take us in when they did not even know us. At dinner, I filled my plate with bread. The aroma of bread, its freshness, made me more than just hungry. It had been six long years, always longing for that extra piece of bread when there was never enough.

I remembered the long lineups in the snow waiting for a ration of one loaf of bread per week. Why are you taking so much bread? My mouth was too full to answer. Why did she have to act so superior? The grownups drank toasts of vodka, and talked about Poland. From their conversation I gathered that the Rosenbergs came to Canada before the war. Early on, Mrs. Rosenberg waved her hand and said that she did not wish to discuss the war. It is too tragic a subject, particularly in front of the children, she said. I guessed that she meant to protect Ina, but why?

I felt like escaping to the alcove but knew that this would displease my parents. Rosenberg started to talk about registering me in school as Elizabeth. That name! It sounded so harsh compared with Slava. Surely Mother would agree! That was just what I wanted to do. I had not noticed until now, but Ina had already disappeared.

I got up and said good night. Suddenly her door opened. She must have heard my footsteps.

Ina went over to her night table, picked something out of a bowl and tossed it over to me. An orange! A whole one all to myself! I peeled it quickly, and began to eat.

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The delicious juice dribbled down my chin and throat, its scent filling my nostrils. Why do you eat so fast, so greedily? Because there were no oranges in Poland during the war and none afterwards when peace finally came.

Old Brown Suitcase

Because I was often close to starvation. But I said nothing. I paused in the hall for a moment to listen to the music, then went upstairs.

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I walked over for a closer look. On top of the small pile of documents lay an open passport. At the bottom of the page was printed, Republique Polonaise and Rzeczpospolita Polska, both meaning the Republic of Poland. On the opposite page was a photo of Mother, along with a smaller one of me marked Daughter. Eyes green. Hair blond. I could hardly believe the picture was mine, taken only a few months ago with my braids still intact. It was the only picture left of me.

The rest had been burned during the war, along with my birth certificate. I knew it had been done by my parents for my safety, but I resented it. Could all traces of a childhood be so completely destroyed? Well, I thought, not completely. I would never forget Poland and my life there even though my parents wanted us to behave as if we were born the day we got off the boat. New people, new lives.

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I went into the alcove, undressed and lay down on the couch-bed. But sleep would not come. Words and events milled inside my head like crowds in a park on a Sunday afternoon.

Was I suddenly to become an Elizabeth? What about the Slava of the past fourteen years? I jumped out of bed and went into the corner where my suitcase stood. It seemed so long ago now that my father had given it to me, but its leathery smell and smoothness of skin remained the same. Despite the scuff marks from so much travel, it was as dear to me now as the day I received it.

My fingers pressed its rusty catches and sprung them open. Right on top lay my two blond braids still tied at the bottom with red ribbons. The tops were held together by elastic bands.