Thursday, November 4, 2010

Autumn Highlights

This week I took seventy-three students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. We were inspired and moved by eighty-eight year old David Bayer, a Polish Jew who lost his entire family in the Treblinka death camp. He survived beatings, a shooting, internment at Auschwitz, and a death march in addition to other abuses. You could hear a pin drop as he told story after story of how he survived. My students were so touched by his willingness to share deeply personal memories.
Some of our students also met Regina Spiegel, a survivor of Auschwitz. Regina was selected for slave labor in an underground munitions factory where she met Sam Spiegel. They were both deported to Auschwitz and agreed to meet after the war if they survived. Regina was deported to Bergen-Belsen where she went without food and water for days. In the spring of 1945 she was put on a train to Dachau and during a stop she escaped into the woods and was liberated by the Soviets. She and Sam were reunited and married in a displaced person's camp in 1946.

I was fortunate to meet Nessie Godin. In an interview for the museum she said, "On June 26, 1941, the Germans occupied our city, just four days after the invasion of the USSR. In the weeks that followed, SS killing units and Lithuanian collaborators shot about 1,000 Jews in the nearby Kuziai forest. In August, we were forced to move into a ghetto, where we lived in constant hunger and fear. There I witnessed many “selections,” during which men, women, and children were taken to their deaths. My father was among them. In 1944 as the Soviet army approached, the remaining Jews were deported to the Stutthof concentration camp. There I was given the number 54015."
Thank you to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum for another amazing and enriching visit. On a very different note . . .
I love this season of the year! The beautiful mountains rich in color, the cool air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and the smell of apple pie baking in the oven! The sad part is that autumn leads into winter, my least favorite season of the year. I thought I would share some recent autumn events. Halloween is so much fun. I love seeing kids in their costumes. Our youngest grand-kidlet was a kitty cat for Halloween. What can I say? Is she too cute, or what?
In late October, we celebrated two significant birthdays: my mom's 81st, and Becky's 29th. Dixon arrived, ready for cake! His looks have changed dramatically in the last few months. He no longer had that "baby" look.
It is hard to believe that my mom is in her eighties - sure doesn't look it, and that my "baby" is no longer a baby! Sigh! I made this amazing cake from the Eat What You Love cookbook. It is actually low in calories and fat, but tastes rich!Couldn't resist adding this picture. Loving cousins!
Now, how cute are these cupcakes! Jennifer made over fifty of these delicious gluten-free cupcakes for Aidan's and Ryan's Halloween parties at school. One of the moms in her neighborhood, that I will refer to as "Snarky Mom," had the audacity to ask if the cupcakes tasted good because her daughter (oh's the pity) was a "picky eater." Never mind that Aidan and Ryan have to sit and watch kids eat treats all the time that are not gluten free. "Snarky Mom" doesn't care that some of the kids in the class have food allergies. No she's concerned about her picky eater! The nerve of some people!
Does this look like the face of someone who is eating something that doesn't taste good?!?! The kids devoured these delicious cupcakes!
Aidan's class got to make these pipe cleaner spiders. They were fun to make! I had a good time helping!
Last weekend I went to my first ever Monster Rockfish Festival in southern Maryland. It was a beautiful autumn day, perfect for safe trick or treating at the festival. All the vendors gave out treats to the kids.
I couldn't resist taking some pictures of "pretty" things like these pumpkin cake pops! I did resist buying and eating them!I also resisted these gorgeous handcrafted necklaces, even though they were very reasonably priced.
There were several vendors who made gorgeous hand knit items, some out of alpaca wool. Resisted those, too!
The colors were so vivid! More willpower . . .These scarves were unusual in their texture, but vibrant in their colors. And I also resisted these beauties, too!
I loved this lighthouse made out of a gourd. The hand painted details were beautiful. Doesn't fit my decor, so it was easy to pass on this one!
Looking forward to more fun fall days before winter sets in!

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