We have a habit of keeping the radio on in the kitchen so as we wander through the house or even as we come home, we can hear music. Sometimes I think this is a waste of electricity, something I would never have indulged in for most of my life. But then I tell myself that the plants in the kitchen are thriving because of the continual music. It's also a way of hearing odd tidbits or slices of music that I wouldn't normally hear. Like hearing that today is Anne Frank's birthday.
I believe I first read The Diary of Anne Frank when I was 11. I know I was a little younger than Anne was (13) when she started her diary. I had grown up with parents who lived through WWII as children and grandparents who had lived through it as adults, my Grandfather Boag having fought in the war and being a POW a couple of times. (he died of natural causes when Mam was 15) So I had a flavour for the huge impact the war had on everyday lives and knew about the persecution of Jews and how some of them hid.
I can't remember now if I chose the book or if it was gifted to me. Because I was younger, I have a feeling that I chose it. I remember Mam telling me that if I had any questions about it to ask her and that it was a very important book. I started to write my own diary as "Dear Diary" (I think for a while I might have used an actual name, perhaps my middle name, Yvonne) fashioned after Anne's inclination to start her entries "Dear Kitty". The book consumed me. I read it and reread it. I became obsessed with everything about Anne Frank, an obsession that somewhat remains to this day. A couple of years ago, a friend visited the Secret Annex where Anne and her family and four other people lived in hiding for two years. Fascinating. It didn't occur to me to look online until today to discover that there are many pictures and information that I hadn't known about before. Check out the website if you're interested.
You probably know that Anne and the others were discovered in 1944 and hauled off to concentration camps. Anne and her sister Margot were together. I have never forgotten the end of the book which told of Anne's death. Margot, weakened by the terrible conditions, fell and died. To paraphrase the end of the book: Margot's death did to Anne what nothing else could, not the years in hiding, not the capture, not the separation of the family, not the concentration camp itself: it broke her spirit.
Anne died not long after.
Following is a video of Mieps, one of the incredibly courageous people who helped hide the people in the Secret Annex. It's less than a minute and a half long )so please take the time to watch it) but is totally sobering and tells of the moment that Anne's father (the only survivor of the eight people in the Secret Annex) finds out that his daughters have both died.
Anne's diary is full of the optimism and sometimes the moodiness of a teenager despite her incredible circumstances. It's grounded in everyday details but she never stops thinking of tomorrow, whether dreaming of freedom and a better world or fearing being discovered or pondering her ambitions.
Sometimes tomorrow is what gets us through today.
A favourite song became an anthem for me during a sometimes difficult transition to Canada. Don't Stop by Fleetwood Mac. Sometimes I felt lonely and wanted contact from friends in England. A day without their letters in the mail could be crushing so I learned to embody the words of the song and keep thinking about tomorrow. A letter could be on its way that very moment, ready to drop through the mail slot tomorrow.
Tomorrow is a good place to pin your hopes.
But it's even better to embrace what you can of today. Tomorrow is not a good place to permanently live. In fact it's not really a place at all...it's always out there somewhere. I like the song and lyrics of Alan Doyle and Sean Mccann of Great Big Sea, Ordinary Day. Another powerful song to choose as an anthem, one which acknowledges that sometimes our today can be clouded by how we anticipate our tomorrow to be. A song that focuses on our state of mind, our attitude, the biggest thing we can control in our lives whether living through today or dreaming of tomorrow.
In this beautiful life, there's always some sorrow
It's a double-edged knife, but there's always tomorrow
It's up to you now if you sink or swim,
Keep the faith and your ship will come in.
It's not so bad
And I say way-hey-hey, it's just an ordinary day
and it's all your state of mind
At the end of the day, you've just got to say,
it's all right.
What song would you choose as your anthem today? At this point in your life?
May your today be delightful and your tomorrow be bright.
Welcome! I'm Sue Blott: a writer of all things, a poet at heart, mom, wife, daughter, step-mom, grandma, tea drinker, tai chi-er, mystic, artist, dreamer...and now a blogger! This is my world.