My world was truly shaken when Papa left for America. As the train moved out of the station a tear slipped down my face. I was angry at the Nazis. They had to go and mess things up for everyone. Papa waved from the caboose. I furiously waved back until the train was out of sight. The winter weather seemed averse to my crying, turning every tear into ice. There was really no reason to cry. After all, Papa would call us soon to join him. I tried to believe it but my mind was filled with what-ifs.The very next month we received a letter from Papa.
Dear Betsy, Jeany , and Peter,
I’ve found work on a construction site and am arranging your trip. I will send for you soon. Jeany, although you are one of the best artists in Germany, I have found you will have a lot of competition here in America. Practice with the art set I gave you.
As soon as I read that I took out the art set. I drew a picture of when I had been given it. In the background was the train. There was a pair of weathered hands giving a wooden box to a pair of smaller hands. I used my pink crayon to add a bow on top of the box. As I colored Peter watched over my shoulder. “Hey, J, add me please!” I smiled and put Peter in the background inspecting the train. I loved him and couldn't bear his cuteness. I hugged him . The picture looked almost like I remembered.
Much to my surprise life still marched on although every thing seemed upside down. Germany’s dignity was crumbling as most joined the Nazi forces, others fled the terrible war, and still others waited like Mother, Peter, and I.
To our relief a month later we received another letter telling us it was time to make our departure. The next morning I stepped out of the taxi at the train station. It was packed with people. I remembered the sign from when Papa had left. It announced to the travelers that they were in Dulebohn,Germany. The people seemed frantic to get away from this place. No one was coming and everyone was going. The taxi skidded away and we were left in the mass of people. We went to the ticket office and had only a little trouble from the officers. As we went back out the wooden door one of my hands held tightly to Mama’s and the other clutched my art set.The train whistled its coming, and Mama set down Peter telling me to keep an eye on him. She fumbled around with our trunk trying to find a way to carry it while getting Peter and me to the train.
Just then a jolly middle aged man in a fancy suit strolled by, “Need some help, Mrs?”
Mama smiled and nodded, “Thank you very much!”
The man led us to the platform carrying our trunk and his own small one. He went inside the train car and we followed. There was one seat at the very back of the car so the man put our trunk on the rack above the seat. As he left Mama thanked him again, and Peter and I waved.
We sat down and Mama handed me a shiny red apple. It was so very beautiful that I decided I would use my new crayons to draw one. I opened my wood art set then pulled out the thick drawing pad and a red crayon. It’s strokes soon developed into a fine red apple much like the one in my lap. I added a stem and my signature.
Mama looked over my shoulder and exclaimed, “What a beautiful apple, Jeany! I agree with Papa that you are one of the best artists in all of Germany.”
“Thank you, Mama!” I said. Satisfied with my work, I picked up my apple and looked out the window . Soon the pretty apple was an ugly core. The green hills rolled by and the daffodils told stories of spring. I wanted to draw it but we went by too quickly.
I heard a snap and looked behind me. Peter had been playing with my crayons. Oh, my beautiful new crayons! He had broken the pink one, my favorite. I felt anger building up in me, and I opened my mouth to say something nasty but stopped.
Peter looked so astonished, a big fat tear slid down his cheek. He said “I’m sorry, Jeany!” Then I remembered the Nazis. Saying rude stuff to Peter would be just like what they were doing, hurting. I couldn’t yell at him so I hugged him instead.
“I forgive you, Peter!” That’s the day I learned that broken people can still do what’s right and that even broken crayons still color.