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Wednesday’s WIP: Memories, My German Passport & Me

Grandma & Me at My Sister's College Graduation, 1994

Grandma & Me at My Sister’s College Graduation, 1994

So long as the anticipated snowstorm doesn’t shut down the city, before I head to the day job today, I’m stopping off at the German consulate, where I’m renewing my German passport. When I went online to book my appointment back in November–you need to make one, you can’t handle this by mail–I thought it was really something that the first available appointment was January 22: my German grandmother’s birthday.

As many of you already know, my grandmother–who would be 99 today–was a huge influence on the stories in my collection, Quiet Americans. Which celebrated the third anniversary of its publication a few days ago, too.

And as for my passport, it was the focus of one of my first published essays. The scan quality isn’t great, but I’ve uploaded a copy of “Passport from the Past,” which was published in the Boston Sunday Globe in 1997.

[UPDATE: The city schools (and my office) are open–but transit is dicey and non-essential travels around the city aren’t in the cards this morning. I’m going straight to work and rescheduling the consular appointment. I think that Grandma would approve!]

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8 Responses »

  1. Mazel tov on the third anniversary.

    Grandmothers are rather special, aren’t they? Yours is obviously a continuing influence. May it always be so.

  2. Great essay…I like how you balanced your reason of resistance/history with practicality. It make it more real. Stay warm!

    • Thank you, Becca–and I haven’t yet had the chance to congratulate you on your latest in TABLET. Another wonderful, honest piece.

  3. What a beautiful, eloquent essay. So, all these years later, have you come any closer to a genuine peace with the country? It surely is significant that you’re determined to renew your passport.

  4. Erika — Thank you for sharing this essay from your archive. I am awed by your courage and compassion. And happy anniversary to Quiet Americans! My 21-year-old daughter has just finished reading your book and tells me she cannot let your stories go.

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