Thanks a lot for your letter. It was very nice to hear from you after all those years. I am delighted that you are doing so well there in Berlin and that you can speak German as if you were born there.
I was very interested and impressed when I read that you want to write a book about childhood memories. It’s a great idea because you have always been a very talented writer. I certainly shall give you mine. You know that I love details, and the fact that my dad died when I finished the seventh grade. In addition, the dearest memory is the memory of my father. I am going to write down some of my memories and I hope that you may use them. But please don’t cry that’s life.
The first memory is the one when we went on a summer holiday in Igalo. You know how much I love that town. It’s full of memories for me and the last place that I went to together with my mother and father, you know, as a family. I was ten and a half years old. It was before the sixth grade. It was a very hot August and I can still remember it very well. Before we set off on a journey, we had been packing together for a while. I remember that our bus left at 6 pm. It was a big purple coach. It was a very beautiful and sunny day and there was a long and exhausting journey ahead of us, which lasted between fifteen and twenty hours, but we didn’t care at all because we just thought about the following day. I was sitting between my mum and dad and we were very happy together. In fact, we had a whale of time together, we sang some silly songs, cracked jokes, giggled and laughed, chattered, and played cards. Finally, we arrived in Igalo after a long journey and checked in the hotel. And, of course, the first thing we did, we went to the beach. The next day we were swimming, laughing and playing volleyball. The sun was shining, the sea was blue, and every day was better than the day before. However, all the time, I had a feeling that something was not all right.
One day I went to the beach with my mom and dad. There were a lot of people and I was looking at my dad and other people and compared him to them and I observed that something was wrong. My dad was too thin and did not look all right. His face was very pale. I approached him and told him that he looked different but he told me that he was very well. There was that woman I didn’t know at that time who told my dad to see a doctor when we came back home. I asked her whether she was a doctor but she only looked down at me and patted me on my hair. When we came back to the hotel and told my mom about that strange lady she told me that I was a child and that that lady was telling me the truth. I ran out of the room. Days passed quickly but when we arrived back in Novi Sad everything was different. We all were quiet, concerned and full of anxiety. Mom begged dad to see a doctor so he decided to start the tests. That was the most painful memory of my life. Dad had an X-ray test and the doctor saw what was going to happen. Dad had cancer and it was very hard for him. Everybody knew that he had a cancer except me and everybody thought that I was a child and that I could not understand it. However, one day, mom came into my room and told me everything and it was the start of the war against cancer and for dad’s life, which we lost, unfortunately.
You know, Maya, it is wonderful that many children do not have to go through such a struggle during their childhood, and I wish the things had been different in my case. No child should lose his or her parent. On the one hand, I learnt that life is not a bed of roses very early and, on the other hand, that our life is the most precious thing in the world, our life here and now. I know and understand that life is not easy but I do not love life less because of that.
Take care, my friend. I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.
I didn’t want to write the memory about dad’s death because I know that you are emotional and that you are writing a book about childhood memories. One day I shall write my own book if I become a writer. Perhaps I shall ...
Teodora Striber (III-2)