Friday, January 16, 2015

I'll Attempt to Explain......

I have recently received email from two different regular reader of this blog about the apparent turn to a darker more serious tone. For this I apologize, and I will attempt in as short a way as possible to explain.

Every year I write a letter to my mother, a letter that will not be sent.  She did not live long enough to see me grow to be a woman.  It’s cathartic for me,  gives me time to reflect and ask myself "would she be proud of who I've become?" 

For those who do not know, I am a product of a wonderful Scottish born musician father many of you over 40 might recognize his voice, but not his name, and an American mother.  My father's work kept them in Europe most of the time and they chose to settled in a small quiet Belgian town for privacy. I was born in Brussels. 

My earliest memories of childhood are of picking wild flowers with my mother in the gently rolling hills above the Flanders Military Cemetery near where we lived. These grassy hills became our favorite picnic spot, and where she taught me the things a mother teaches her daughter; why the sky is blue, how to braid you hair, and in my case, why those 500 white crosses lay below us.  

She never let me forget the fact she was American, and so was I to be. She taught me the Pledge of Allegiance, and me and my friends the game of baseball.  We had watermelon and strawberry shortcake on 4th of July. 

In the summer she would take me to the open air markets to buy fresh fruit and flowers she loved to filled the house with. I also remember many times dark haired, dark eyed men in the market, men who dressed and spoke differently than my father, watching me and sometime felt them touching my hair.  One day, as a young teenager shopping with my mother, two of these dark haired men touched me inappropriately. My mother turned and slapped one of the men in the face. He began yelling words I did not understand and knocked my mother to the ground. It was while recuperating from that incident that doctors found the cancer that would eventually take her from us a little over a year later. 

What I saw in those men’s faces that hurt my mother was evil rage that I had never seen and did not understand. 

They were muslims. Immigrants from a nearby enclave. 

The events in Europe this past week have brought feeling to the surface I did not expect. The letter to my mother has made my mood somber, yet angry.  I have tried to write about other thing here to no avail. I have been consumed by anger at the memory of what was done to my mother, and the growing concern for my childhood friends and their young children.

I have seen many angry men, none like I saw that day. I was raised by my parents to be compassionate, and later by my aunt to be the proper Southern Belle I believe I've become. But when I see scenes of muslims men in the news, I recognize the same soulless evil I saw that day in the market.

I have an deep affinity for the European people that most Americans will not understand. I lived among them and was one of them as a child. I don’t expect anyone to understand. What we see happening in Europe now is no one's fault but their own, it's self inflicted. It is now up to us to make sure we don't place ourselves in evil’s way as they have. 

It hurts me deeply to see it happening, and to put it into words to my mother……