Note from the Author:
Dear Anne Frank (a writing project that I gave myself) originally started as being a part of a blog–written in 2010 shortly after a trip to DC–then that blog company shut down in 2013, prompting me to publish to Amazon instead of recreating this on another website. However, due to wanting to write a book about my Jewish journey, I wanted to put this out there as sort of marketing material, as I will be including updates, edits, and maybe photos with it if I can find them to put in my book. I think that if you read what I’ve selected below (this is only half of it, my favorite pieces that are actually detailed), it kind of falls into what I have found out or what I’m finding out in my life today as a new Jew. It’s super exciting to go back and see where the puzzle pieces have made their way to a full picture!
DEAR ANNE FRANK THE STORY by Karen Maeby
Copyright © 2010-2009 All rights reserved.
Friday, April 30th, 2010
Dear Anne Frank,
In the very last entry of yours, you had discussed being a “bundle of contradictions” and that you were split between two personalities. The one that everyone knows and the one that only you know.
Today? This week? Last week? Perhaps it’s been my entire life so far? I have been fighting the same battle within myself, on different circumstances, ways to explain it and how, when or if one or the other personality shows up. Or, if I really do have that problem. I am my own contradiction.
Just in the last month, I was thrown on the path of self discovery… a personal journey to figuring out who I am (in general). And, once again, I am living by the quote of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” and LeAnn Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” The words… the words of the poem and two songs, they keep me going; they give me the strength to make decisions and move forward.
You once said that paper is more patient than people. After having read your diary when I was younger, I lived by that quote for the longest time. I didn’t really write to anyone particular, except in middle school when I wrote to “Wolfie.” I tried it, but it was quite awkward for me to write to a girl, considering boys seemed to have the goods of being quiet when you told them something. And, even though it was just paper, I still felt the comfort of writing to a male much better off for me.
I continued writing in diaries from middle school up until 2006. I had actually found an online journal website where I wrote from 2001 to 2009. That’s when my writing on paper kind of seized down, until I needed to share deeper thoughts that I just couldn’t bring myself to writing online. The online journals gave me a chance to read and share my life with others and get feedback via notes. Last year, I decided it was time to pack it up at that website and I never went back. I casually document entries on a blog site, but that’s about it. I haven’t trusted paper in so long, other than notes for stories and poetry. I need to find that comfort on paper once again.
Like you, while growing up, I had a hard time finding a friend to confide in. If the truth may still be out there, I still have a hard time letting myself go in front of people and letting them see the “true” me because I’m afraid what people would think, say or just in general, do. Basically it’s just a trust issue.
Who can I trust with my inner most feelings? Most people just don’t get me, like you thought they didn’t get you. Sometimes, as like you did, I find myself viewing myself as two people, the more reserved in front of people up against who I really am. Plus, what would people do with that information? Blackmail? Gossip? Ditch me as a friend? Support me? It’s more than likely the first two and then I’d feel really betrayed and I don’t want to walk back into that trap again. I don’t need that going on. At all.
And so, as I conclude this diary entry I want to say that I have decided to write to you about my Washington, DC trip. I haven’t written much of anything, let alone a ‘real’ diary entry in so long. Granted this isn’t written on paper but it will now be forever documented. As a friend that shares parallel thoughts, welcome to me, which oddly seems to be you many years ago… enjoy.
Friday, April 30th, 2010 @ 11pm
Dear Anne Frank,
At around 11pm, we pulled in to the hotel parking lot. After checking in and finding out where our room was on the 4th floor, we went downstairs and out through a lobby where a garden is presented. We went back through the security door, to the lobby, and I was just caught off guard by what was in front of the elevators.
Right where the perfectly carpeted stairs were, there was a huge American flag hanging. It was beautiful. I stopped to stare at it for a few minutes because, at that moment, I was reminded again why I love America. In my mind, I immediately flashed back to my Philadelphia trip in 2003 where we had viewed the Betsy Ross house.
There was also an area with slots for a phone booth. That was awesome considering the fact that almost everyone has cell phones nowadays. My mind instantly flashed into a scene where someone was standing beside the phones waiting for a very important call. This person would be nervously impatient.
When the elevator opened, we hopped on and went to our room.
Basically, walking in the hotel room was also amazing. Our room had the most awesome green curtains with white in the middle where the blinds were. Placed in front of the window, on either sides, was a small wooden desk and a green single seat with foot recliner, which was also green.
We crawled into bed around midnight and that was it….The bed took us into its comforting arms and we were out.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 7-10am
Dear Anne Frank,
It was 7am on Saturday, when the sun started shining through our window in the hotel room. I embraced the sheer fact that I was waking up in Washington, DC once again.
DC comes in second for being a favorite city of mine. The first being Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, and also the city of which I laid my heart. I often call Philly my heart city because if I had to choose, that’d be the perfect city for me due to the arts, sculptures around the city and history that place has, as well as the laid back environment of which sets on Market Street.
There’s just something with me and the city. A big something. It’s the city life, it’s the tourism, it’s the history. You go to these places to learn the birth of the US and physically SEE so many other historical beginnings. I have such an attachment to older things – the tall old buildings, plantation houses, history of way back when. I think it’s the feeling of knowing and the happiness that we know.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 10-3pm
Dear Anne Frank,
We had to be out of our hotel room at 10am to meet the hotel shuttle at the front doors to be carried to the metro. While on the metro, I thought of a friend when the voice over the intercom said “step back, doors closing.” I remembered that she said she’d like to be that voice.
We got off the metro at the zoo stop and rode an escalator that took 2.5 minutes to go up. Once we got half way, I couldn’t look down. Someone was wanting me to move over so they could get through and I told them to find their way to the center because I my hand and body was NOT leaving the side rail, since I am afraid of heights.
As soon as we got there we followed the signs and went in the direction to the Panda Station. We ate lunch there and it was actually not too expensive for it being in Washington, DC and the zoo.
After resting a while after eating our food, we went to walk around the zoo for a bit. The most we got to look at in the zoo was a panda eating bamboo, the back end of a zebra, an elephant, a few random birds on the bird trail and flamingo fights of a flock of flamingos.
After walking there and back around, we passed an exhibit that was being worked on from ground up. It completely looked like they were not projecting it as an exhibition for animals but an area for my bedclothes group to have one amazing ball pit party. I thought of all of my online friends while there, at the zoo, passing by that area. We would have such a blast!
For me, the most interesting part about the zoo was seeing the flamingos. However, my whole childhood has been masked a lie. Why, you ask? These flamingos were not pink but they were actually bright orange. Whoever said they were pink (other than the feet and very back tail feathers) were colored blind and/or seriously deranged. Orange is NOT the new pink! (PS- Science tells us that the color of the flamingo is dependent on what they eat.)
I must say I have never seen animals carry on like they did. The whole group, at one point, was standing on one leg trying to bite and fight with one another. Also, the song “De Animals a-Comin’” was going through my head the entire time of this zoo visit. It was a song that the guys group sang in my high school choir.
Oh, and to end this note… One funny thing did happen, though, while at the zoo. There was this woman that wore a shirt saying “You’ll never get lucky with me.” Yes, indeed; you wouldn’t have wanted to. Just.. saying.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ Noon-3pm
Dear Anne Frank,
After the zoo, we headed to the Postal Museum. It was awesome!! As soon as we opened the doors, got checked in with security, my memory was jogged. I remembered being there in year 2000, when my 8th grade class went. I even remembered how excited I was then about this experience.
The best part of the Postal Museum was The Pony Express. I knew about the Pony Express from a cassette collection of stories that my aunt had given me many years back. Even though I had already seen that exhibit before, I was more than excited to go back and refresh my memory.
What’s so interesting was that of the photo directly above. “Romance VS Reality.” I know that they were talking about the Pony Express, but instantly, as soon as I saw this, I thought about daily life. So, what IS romance vs. reality?
But then again, let me ask you what exactly IS “what is”? What is definitely is reality. Reality is what you have your hands on right now, romance the loveliness of dreams, what may come when and if it is supposed to. I could go on forever about this subject, but I think you get the point.
Another part I loved was seeing the hand written letters hanging in picture frames along the wall. O- my heart longs for things of sentimental value!!!!
I was excited to see some of the stamp collections in there, considering I see some of that at my work place and it means more to me now than it ever did. It’s like, ‘hey – I just got to touch (or see) some of this stuff from ages ago seeing this old stuff is amazing’. A few weeks prior to this trip, my boss had let me see a Mark Twain fold up letter where you wrote in the middle of it and folded that same paper into an envelope to send it out. I found some samples of that on a wall inside one of the stamp exhibits. I was quite the excited one when I knew what it was!
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 3-5pm
Dear Anne Frank,
We just got done walking through the Holocaust Museum – it looked so familiar. For the life of me, I cannot remember if we had gone to it or not while touring DC in 8th grade.
The best part of the Holocaust Museum was the remembrance room with all of the lit candles and quotes. My favorite quote was “Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully. Lest you forget the things your eyes saw and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life. And you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.”
Walking through each exhibit at the museum brought me chills. I was reminded of a dream that I had on February 20, 2010. I was either born a Jew in a concentration camp or something equally as frightening. Plus, must I mention, that every time I watch a Holocaust movie with the German siren sounds, my heart stops and rush of panic overcomes me. I HATE that sound and would rather not hear it, as did you guys when it came around the area of which you were hiding.
Ever since having read your diary long ago, I felt close to you and I hold what happened in the Holocaust dear to my heart. It was absolutely heart breaking to walk into the Holocaust Museum to physically see more of the proof of what was done to you and others.
As we entered, it actually fell right into a time that we could be behind the group that had a tour guide. There was a movie presentation in the middle of the tour so we stopped to watch. A few minutes into it, some ladies walked passed us saying, as rudely as they could, “We can watch that on the history channel!” It took everything in me not to turn around and slap her.
And, right then and there, it was at that VERY moment that I decided it made perfect sense to write this story to you, my dear parallel-thought friend.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 3-5pm
Dear Anne Frank,
As I’ve said before, after reading your diary years ago, I felt close to you. I could say that you are the reason I began my love for non-fiction books and writing in diaries. In my opinion, as much as reality hurts sometimes, it is far better than some sugar-coated fictional story. I love hearing about real stories – where people have struggled through the pain to get to where they are today, living a much better life than yesterday. Stuff like that.
Regardless of the horror you were going through, you continued to write and document life truthfully how it was and, not only life living in the Holocaust but also feelings of yourself, those around you and life in general.
You were a writer with [some] thoughts way beyond your years. You wanted to keep on living even after you died, and guess what? You did. These are the things I find myself wanting, too.
Throughout my years, I have always gone on to learn more and more about the Holocaust. I always find myself learning more.
At the museum shop, I bought a post card, a necklace with “O” for circle of love and Jewish symbol glass heart and a bag.… all in honor of and memory of those who died.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010 @ 3-5pm
Dear Anne Frank,
Before we left on this DC trip, I started listening to “Inscription of Hope” being sung by various choirs on YouTube. “Inscription of Hope” has quite the meaning for me since all of the choirs I was around, helped out with or sang in always tackled this song at least once.
The beginning starts out like this:
I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining.
And I believe in love
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God
even when He is silent
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.
If you go online, you will read that the words from “Inscription of Hope” were inscribed on the walls of a cellar in Cologne, Germany, where the Jews were hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
Just hearing this song gives me hope.
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Dear Anne Frank,
I love riding the metro. I have no idea where it comes from, but I just enjoy it. Rode my first train in Chicago in year 2007 and it’s been love ever since, I think. It’s a big part of “the city life” because it’s a main way to have access to everywhere, easily avoiding the horrible traffic that has become of the cities.
There’s also something about thinking back to the days of travel where mainly did by train. Again, I wasn’t “in” those days but I think back on them like I was. It’s sometimes like I pause my life and daydream about being on a train, reading and writing with twelve more hours to go until I reach the destination. It’s just something else I feel.
In addition: It’s kind of ironic that the beginning/ending main stop for us was the Vienna metro stop. Every time I hear “Vienna” I think Austria, Mozart and the 1700s. Why else is this ironic? Because I often think about being in one of the big cities (Philly or DC) when it’s snowing and riding throughout the city in a horse and carriage. The horse and carriage also reminds me of Vienna. I know this has nothing to do with metro trains – but, since we were already on the subject of a form of travel…
Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Dear Anne Frank ,
People watching on the metro is amazing. Everyone should try it at least once.
There was this younger girl on our first ride that looked like she had walked out of “In the Heights” musical. Out of the corner of my I could see her twirling her hair and lip singing, possibly to something she was looking over in the pamphlet in her hand.
There was this Asian couple that shared ear-buds to an iPod. They reminded me of the Asian couple on “Secret Life of the American Teenager”. I wondered if they were the clone couple.
When the metro was packed, there was this 40ish year old guy dressed really nice standing up in the center in front of us. He looked important and I wondered if he was. He looked mighty familiar.
On one of the rides, when it was our turn to stand up because it was full, we stood behind this guy that was working on his Mac. He was probably a student. He had closed out of one of his programs and I almost died seeing his desktop all a mess with icons everywhere, even worse than mine.
We also stood by this African American woman that had a broken arm. She had three kids, two sitting with her and one across the way. The little girl was wanting to sleep and she kept yelling at her, telling her not to sleep on the metro. I can imagine with that small of kids, it’d be nerve wrecking to have on the metro with that many people, let alone by herself.
On the last ride back, there was this mother with three kids and a grandmother. I wondered what their story was because they seemed like odd folks, but generally happy and friendly. I wondered if their dad was in their lives by the way the boy was sort of acting up. They also had disposable cameras. Who uses those anymore? I thought disposable cameras were extinct by now!
On that same ride, there was this white guy with a black girl standing in front of us holding on to the center pole. From the way they were talking and never once took their eyes off each other, you could just tell they were in love. This huge cloud of amazing aura was ringing around them.
There was also this elderly woman who was by herself. It looked like she had a few groceries in the cloth bags that she was carrying. When she got off at one of the stops, she hopped off the metro like she does it quite often.
I “studied” tons more people but that’s the ones I took mental notes of the most. Just something about each one of them, all of the families or individuals or stories being different.
The whole time I was wondering what each person did and how they play a part in America. At one point, of each ride, my mind kept going back to this scene in Rent. The one where the group was on the train singing “Santa Fe.”
Several times throughout our ride today… There were times where the metro was so full that everyone was huddled together. I smiled to myself, thinking, this IS America. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of differences and likes, packed together, not minding and stuck in their own conversations in their own life while around complete strangers.
This is America. And, above all, I simply love the diversity.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 @ 10am-Noon
Dear Anne Frank,
Today was the second morning we woke up in DC, this time at 10am so we could be on the shuttle by noon. The metro was so empty that time of the day.
Our first stop was the Chili Bowl, which was another restaurant suggestion from our friend. When we walked into the Chili Bowl, it was absolutely nuts – swarming with people in a line that never seemed to end. I was waiting on one side of the counter when D went to the other side to hold seats. Neither one of us knew what was going on but we ended up getting perfect seats RIGHT at the bar so we could see over top of everything.
While waiting for the actual meal, we had chili cheese fries. They were really good but the true test was when the real food came out. I had a turkey burger, he had a Chili Half Smoke. My meal was excellent; the turkey burger literally melted inside my mouth, it was that good.
The most amazing thing about eating there was knowing this was one of the places that was featured on Man vs. Food and one of the most favorite-known places to eat in DC. Not only that, but we were there… right in the middle of it all the madness.
The line never really died down in the time we were there, behind the counter was just as nuts as what was going on behind us with people finding seats to sit down.
Over in the corner, there was a huge photo of Obama on the wall. I took pictures of the main parts where the signs were located. I didn’t get to take a picture of who eats there for free – which would be the Obama family and Bill Cosby.
After we finished eating and paid our bill, we walked out the door. I took pictures of the outside of the building and when I turned to the left I saw a building with graffiti on it. The picture drawn in graffiti was awesome. Graffiti and tattoos are about in the same area for me, I don’t draw it, wouldn’t do it and probably wouldn’t ink myself… but love the stories and art that comes out of it afterwards.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 @ Noon-3pm
Dear Anne Frank,
We weren’t originally planning on going to the Native American Museum, it was just on the other side of the Air & Space Museum where we were going next.
As soon as I walked in and we started walking thru the exhibits, some things started making more sense. There were more moments of “wow, that must be why I have such a connection there.”
Let me back up here, though, I must mention that both sides of my family have Indian ancestors. So, it’s apparent that Indian is thickly embedded in my blood.
I had taken a Native American Literature class in fall 2004, my first semester of college. When I was in that class not only did all of the stories, literature, poems and lectures make sense to a point where in connected with my soul BUT I was also able to look so deep within myself to create deep soul poetry, writing and thoughts. It did me wonders. After a while of being out of that class, I stopped having deep-soul conversations with myself, the ones that would help my heart heal of whatever was needed.
Now it’s time to relate to the museum. The following quotes are just a small portion of what struck my philosophical heart.
“Water is life….”
“Our lives revolve around the seasons…”
“Everything has a spirit and everything is interconnected…”
“Everything is about the river, and the river is woven through everything.”
I find comfort in the arms of large bodies of water. I go to the lake to think and write. My thoughts feel free when writing in the sun with water around me. My religion is the Earth and water, my spirituality evolves when I am in nature doing something with my hobbies. Not to mention the odd connection between seasons, weather patterns and my soul’s habits.
After seeing majority of those quotes, we walked past this a grave photo that spoke of taking care of graves of ancestors for respect of the dead. As creepy as this sounds, I often find comfort in going to graves and walking around taking pictures and looking at what is written on the tombstones. The older the graveyard, the better.
I’m beginning to think this is indeed my Indian “journey” to finding me. But, then again, everyone lives life and they have to figure out the same thing. But some of us are more in touch with our soulfulness than others.
Monday, May 3rd, 2010 @ Evening
Dear Anne Frank,
Before I completely wrap up my trip, I must mention that I live my life thoroughly by signs, metaphors and symbols. Most of my life I have questioned everything. Why this? Why that? You should do this – but why? You should really think about that before you do that – but why?
To me, life seems to be a big mystery that needs to be questioned. Along the way, there are clues – there are always clues (or signs) but you just have to look for them. You are your own investigator of your life. Life is the game, but you are clearly the “Clue” master at hand.
The game of Chess could also be related to life. One move, one bad move and it’s game over. One good move and it could possibly be a winning streak.
Most people would not like to live this way, you know, always looking for answers.
It wasn’t until 3 years ago that I really even started living life. I finally got out on my own, started REALLY experiencing the adult life. Even through the tough times, I like it so much. I would never want to go back to being a kid, as many wish to do.
I had always sat in the sidelines. While I sat there without change, the world was changing and moving on…without me. I was stuck in the past while calendar dates were being stolen by Mr. Time. I didn’t want that anymore, so I took charge. That might be the reason why I am addicted to change now.
I think mostly I do it for my stories. If anything else, I just want the information, the answers, in my hand – and quick! It serves some self purpose to be like “ah-hah, I’m so glad this worked out (or didn’t) because now ‘this’ has happened and ‘this’ wouldn’t have happened otherwise”.
But the thoughts inside my mind tells me I shouldn’t do this or that or even question it. I am my own contradiction. I may seem to say one thing but mean another. I never even know about me sometimes.
I am such a complicated person that no one, including me, will ever figure out. The end.
This Train Ride
by Karen Maeby – all rights reserved 9/2011
Written for a free write prompt, one of the entries above inspired this.
The train master yells, “ALL ABOARD”
and the time starts ticking away inside my heart.
Suitcase in one hand,
and a ticket in the other –
I board the train.
People hustling about and talking
while trying to find a seat.
He sings a song,
while she hums along –
They’re in love.
They share ear buds,
same taste in music I see –
They’re so hipster.
His nose is buried in a script
he is reciting something –
while his lover corrects him.
She types on the computer
and never looks up –
Must be a workaholic.
He’s typing away on his phone
smiling and silently laughing –
Must’ve been a funny text.
Mother and daughter
fussing and fighting, it’s a long ride –
Child won’t go to sleep.
My heart starts beating faster
and I close my eyes.
The train stops and it causes me
to bump my head against the window –
I wake up.
I look at my watch,
the time has finally stopped.