A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-17

Déjà Vu

The parallels between my mother’s secret camp journal and the situation we are in today are remarkable. I can’t help but reading her stories again and re-living what she went through during WWII in a camp under Japanese oppression.

January 17, 1944. Contagious Disease, Diphtheria.
“…the doctor said, these are positive. and Ronny Herman…..It was inevitable. You keep walking, with leaden feet, purely mechanical
ly, automatically. That’s how I walked up to the desk. Who is it? It’s Ronny.”

In 1944, a little girl of barely five, I tested positive for the disease and Mamma had to let me go to a hospital outside the camp….What a blessing that I do not test positive for Covid-19 in 2020!

January 1945. More Illness and Death.
“… A young woman in the house next to 
ours died of Malaria Tropica, another dangerous and often fatal disease spreading throughout the camp.”

And here, in 2020, in the building with many apartments, occupied by many people who have become friends, there is more illness and death as well. We lost two friends in the last few weeks in Independent Living and two more in Assisted Living and Memory Care. Not victims of the virus, thankfully, but of complications after a fall and illnesses. Nevertheless, it is heart wrenching to realize that I will never see them again.

The quotes from my mother’s journal sound pretty depressing. But if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. It has a happy ending, hence the title. Here is the link: Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

Mamma never gave up hope that the war would end. And that hope gave her the courage to endure fear and hunger, anxiety and diseases and continue to fight for our lives for almost four years. Nelson Mandela once said: Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

Compare her stories to our situation today. We already heard that they have developed a vaccine in Great-Britain! For us, the Lockdown will not last four years – perhaps only months. And that we can surely survive if we live by the rules.

Not four years, yet longer than four weeks

We have been in Lockdown since March 13. Stricter rules have been issued. The cleaning service will only spend 15 minutes in our house every other week and only if there is an emergency. Well, in our house, there isn’t. And although I had dragged my feet because I thought it would soon be over and then we would have our own cleaning lady back, I decided this week that I needed to order stuff from Amazon and go to work on toilets, floors and shower. I now have the necessities, even a spray bottle with a chlorine solution already in it. The tool to clean the toilets with disposable pads makes my old toilet brush seem a thing of the middle ages! In all probability my grandparents used one like this. I threw it in the trash (the old one that is). Now I can go on a cleaning spree. I just have not yet decided when!


Another rule of the House: everybody has to wear a mask when inside the building or meeting others outside. Would you believe that I have a friend somewhere back in Arizona, who not only is the greatest cook and takes care of a husband and five dogs, but she made 200 masks in a single day and donated them to two friends’ hospitals in Dan Diego! She offered me one – I could even choose the design – and it came yesterday. It’s lovely, very professional. Now I will be safely masked when I go to the Club for something. Hooray! One thing to remember about wearing a mask: do not put on makeup and certainly no lipstick! Is that an advantage or a disadvantage I ask you?

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




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