“Would you mind if one or two of us came over to visit?” he asked.
“Not at all,” I said, “when do you hope to come? You should know that you are always welcome.”
”Would tomorrow be too early,” came a voice, it was Sarah.
“The sooner the better,” I said, “I’ll do some baking… better yet, would you like to eat properly? We could have dinner."
All was arranged and the following day they arrived. There were more than the “one or two” that Helmut had suggested. There was Sarah, Helmut, and of course, Nathan, and a young couple I had met previously; David, who turned out to be one of the blood family and his fiancée, Rebecca. There was also a lovely young boy aged about fifteen, who looked so similar to Nathan, and turned out to be his grandson. They all came and it was just as if it was a family gathering with me as the completely accepted member of that family.
“We’ve just come to tie up a few loose ends,” said Helmut, laughing, “and to see you of course, because I doubt if we would be here doing this if it weren’t for your advice, and the loan of your lucky pendant,,, and of course the wonderful Mr. Ledger-Heimat and his family.”
So we did a quick tour of the house, and among other things, I showed them the Victrola, which I had never used since the day I travelled to pre-War Germany and back. Then we went into the kitchen, sat around my big pine table, drank tea and coffee, ate cakes, and enjoyed the strudel
that Sarah and her niece and granddaughters had made.
Between them, they explained what had happened since they had landed in England. How Mr. and Mrs. Ledger-Heimat took them under their wing and made sure that, they were well fed and happy while they stayed with them for a couple of weeks. How the family eventually went to live with Mr. & Mrs. Francis Taylor at ‘The Gables,’ a large house in Buckinghamshire.
How grandmother was distraught when she leaned on September 3, 1939 that Britain had declared war on Germany. She still considered that Germany was her country and that the whole family was Germans, but could not live there safely… or at all, under the wicked Nazis.
They told me how Mr. Ledger-Heimat and his family had kept in touch with them right up to the
beginning of the War, but that letters and visits from his wife and daughter continued but never a word was spoken about him or even Manfred. Mr. Ledger-Heimat, appeared after the War, and would not discuss where he had been or what he had been doing.
At the end of hostilities, no news of Manfred reached the United Kingdom, or specifically the
Ledger- Heimats until late in 1945 when he reappeared; gaunt and tired, having been in a prison
camp for months towards the end of the War. Only then did Mr. Ledger-Heimat and Manfred admit to having done their parts within Germany, to right some of the wrongs perpetrated by an evil regime. Just as they had said, they would.
I discovered that a letter had arrived at ‘The Gables’ in about 1948, saying that the Victrola was still “safe” and would the family care to have it shipped to them? Grandmother, for once, laid down the law and said that she did not want to return to Germany then or at any time.
“Europe is finished,” she would say, and the family resolved to apply to immigrate to America to make a new life for them. Therefore, we talked and talked and the family remembered old details and reminisced.
Then, Helmut, who had obviously been delegated as spokesperson, turned to me and stated seriously, “And how can we ever repay you, Julie?” Even Nathan the Joker looked serious a she said it.
“I do not want anything from you. I was glad to give you the diamond so that your family could escape. I just wanted to know if you made it safely out of the dreadful place that Germany was at that time; for Jews, and many other citizens. I have thought about you for many months. It has been years in your time, but I only made the trip back to 1937 a matter of months ago.”
Helmut then spoke up. “A diamond you say? Sit there Mrs. Thompson… er… Julie. I want to show you something.”
He almost ran out of the room, and went to his jacket, which he had hung on the peg inside the closet. He came back as quickly as he could. He opened his hand to display my diamond.
“You mean our good luck piece? Is this your diamond Mrs. Thompson?”
”Yes Helmut it is,” I said.
I could not believe my eyes!
Sarah then spoke up and said,” Mrs. Thompson some things are left unexplainable and we are too old to even argue the point. I believe you. My heart tells me so. We want you to have this back, as it is yours.”
Sarah then took the diamond from Helmut; placed it in my hand and closed my hand ever so gently, and kissed it.
All I could do was whisper, “Thank you.”
I felt my world was overflowing with peace and with happiness that everything had worked out so well for the family… all of them were safe and well. My lucky charm was back; I turned my back and held the pendant in my open palm.
“Someone put it on for me, please,” and I looked around the table at Sarah and Helmut, David, Rebecca, and Nathan… but where was young Nathan, that good-looking young grandson of Nathan the elder?
Suddenly I jumped to my feet. I could hear music from the living room. It was the Victrola.
Someone had put a record on the turntable and was playing ‘Tara’s Theme’ from that 1937 Classic movie, ‘Gone with the Wind’; a movie of the American Civil War; intolerance, the Ku Klux Klan.
A move about, “Oh Lord,” I cried. I raced into the Victrola room. The Victrola was still playing ‘Tara’s Theme’. However, no one was there. The room was empty.
Everybody seemed to realize the awfulness of what must have happened at the same instant.
“Nathan!” shrieked Sarah, distraught with fear, “My little Nathan’s been taken back to the Civil War.” She did not get a chance to finish her sentence, “Are you looking for me?” said Nathan as he peered from behind the sofa, “I dropped my lucky penny, and it rolled under this sofa, I just crawled behind it to get it. Is anything the matter?” and he held up his “lucky” cent.
Until we meet again!
Kimmie aka Sunnie Day