Garden Veggies

Garden Veggies
Made into tile for my stove backsplash

Portland Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden
Mike and my 2 youngest sons Ian and Leif

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons

Grandson Michael's Birthday 2014 throwing water balloons
With son Beau, Grandson Luke and his mom Jennifer


I cut this out of a wedding line. I must take more pictures of her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I decided while reading this book that I like books about real life experiences, especially if I don’t know much about the time period.  I didn’t know that as many as 20,000 Jews escaped Hitler’s clutches by traveling to China during Hitler’s reign of terror.  If you had a boat ticket to China it was even possible to get out of a Nazi prison. 

Ursula Bacon is 10 years old when her family escaped to China in 1939. The story moves from their opulent home in Germany to the boat passage and on to the crowded ghettos of Shanghai.  There was no sitting and sulking in this family.  They immediately made friends, found jobs and worked hard to make life as good as possible in a forbidding exile.

 The details of their struggles and joys were intriguing.  Ursula’s parents were filled with patience and wisdom as they constantly encouraged Ursula to go on.  They proved that enduring is all about attitude. 

From her father:  "This is not a paradise, but we don't have to worry about the Gestapo and the SS. Compared to Hitler's death camps, his butchers, his ovens, his gas chambers - we had merely been inconvenienced!"

Ursula lost the carefree teen years in the stress of it all.  So many situations forced her to be and adult.   I was impressed with the social connections among the refugees.  They seemed to advise, support and expound wise encouragement to each other.  Even among the Chinese Ursula experienced friendships. 

From her mother:  “Memories are wonderful, and we all have them.  They are part of us.  But we need to treat them like a favorite picture book that we enjoy looking at, and when we close the book, the pictures stay on the pages.  If you let the past live your life, my child, then the present has no value, and the future is doomed to failure.  Look at what we once all had—those fine and generous gifts, be grateful for them, but recognize the new gifts coming your way.  Live in the present, take what life has to offer, adjust, and if nothing else, make a memory of everything.  In the depth of my heart I know that everything we are given now, we will be able to put to good use at another time.” (p. 77)
Candles warmed the room—their flickering glow softening the ragged edges of our troubled times, and sent me straight into the pockets of my heart....”  (such a lovely thought)

“I came to realize that life was not about events, life was about people.  I have learned to treasure friendships and to recognize what it takes to be a good friend.”  (Friends got them through it all)

Advice from a Mrs. Goldberg:   “Go out and make a miracle today, God’s busy, He can’t do it all...she sent me on my way, giving me a purpose for the day and meaning to my young life for as long as I shall live.  She handed me wings to fly, opened my eyes to a world that needed miracles, and gave me the assurance I could do God’s work.” 

It was a time of spiritual awakening and questioning for Urusla.  Maybe we all do this in troubled times.

From Ursula :“I wanted the kind of assurance that there existed a plan, an orderliness of events, a reason, and a purpose.  I wanted to believe in a continuation of life as it changed form and substance.  I wanted to believe that I was part of it; I wanted to believe that I was not a mistake, I was not a joke.  I needed that deep, inner knowing that I too, had a purpose.  I wanted to trust that knowing.” (p. 228)

The family lived in China for 8 years, two of the years after the war had ended, as they worked on getting visas to come to the United States. 

For me the book was about the importance of a community in our life.   Wherever or whatever we are dealing with, our associations can help us get through.  

4 stars –an enjoyable read.

1 comment:

Nana Mary said...

Love your review, I will have to print it off when I review this book for book club; I am glad you liked it as much as I did. Our sailing schedule has changed for May and I will be gone when I am supposed to review it so will have to make some adjustments; heard you are having the same problems for April's meeting. Maybe we could even swap.