One of my goals for 2017 is to write more regularly- to map out all the little things that got me through the day and into the weekend. I’ll be sharing an article I couldn’t stop thinking about, a product I love, a song I had on repeat, or a book that really stuck with me: tiny glimpses of what I’ve been up to and things you might enjoy as well!
As I stated last week, I’m tacking on doing more locally. I’ve been researching upcoming shows to sprinkle throughout the year- Cabaret at the Fox, Indiana Jones at Powell Hall, Madame Butterfly at STL Opera Theatre– in addition to my already booked Louis Black show (a Christmas present for my dad) at Peabody Opera House. I was super bummed when I discovered Steve Martin and Martin Short were coming to town because not only is the show almost totally sold out but what’s left is ya know…totally unaffordable. But luckily, St. Louis is home to a handful of universities and libraries that love hosting speakers for free so I’ve got my calendar booked with lecturers all over town.
This week a friend and I met up at Washington University for Chabad’s guest lecturer, Eva Schloss. Eva is the step-sister of Anne Frank and was a Jewish refugee and an Aushwitz-Birkenau concentration camp survivor. She has written several books on her experience and I was so glad to see her come out of Anne’s shadow and have a voice of her own. She spoke of having to leave Austria for Belgium and Holland with her parents and brother, having to learn new languages and having her family split up for hiding. While in hiding, her father gave up his beloved piano playing while her brother struggled to continue painting (she has since located his works and held shows in his honor). Her family was ultimately betrayed by a Dutch double agent and was sent to Aushwitz-Birkenau where she lost touch with her brother and parents. She and her mother survived but her brother and father did not. After the Russians liberated the camp, she stated they remained there for months as it was too cold to leave, they were exhausted, and they feared there was nowhere to go. She spoke of the humiliation and terror of being forced to strip in front of the SS, of the desperation inside and outside of the camps that caused people to act against each other in order to save themselves, and of the importance of clinging to hope. After the war, she moved to London to become a photographer and met a young man who, within months, asked her to marry him (“And I said…’No, thank you.’ *to laughs* “I had my mother to care for, I told him. I thought I was going back to Austria. So he said, ‘Why don’t you call her and ask?’ So I did. And she said, ‘Well, actually, I have some news for you…’ She was marrying Otto Frank- Anne Frank’s father- they had met after the war and had fallen in love. They had so much in common after the war. They were so happy to find each other- someone who knew Vienna, knew what each other had been through. They were a perfect match. So I called up my now husband and said, ‘You still want to marry me?’ “). She didn’t speak of the war or the camp for forty years until she went to a dinner for survivors and was asked to tell her story. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I hadn’t told my husband or my children but here I was, telling everyone everything. And after that, I began writing and traveling to share my story.”
Her advice: Never stop learning. Never stop being curious and open. Never turn away from those in need. Never stop hoping. “To stop having hope is to give up on life. You must never do this.”
The Missouri Botanical Garden hosts an annual orchid show and I always make a point to go. This year was jam-packed and unusually warm so I also darted outside to see what was coming up and to visit the balmier parts of the park.
Simone Faure’s Patisserie Chouquette is one of those places I kick myself for not visiting more often. The neighborhood is really picking up with some modern townhouses replacing some of the older brick homes (mixed feelings about this) and nice restaurants and cafes are starting to dot the street. Based on Simone’s suggestions, I picked up a mousse, coconut, and calamansi concoction, a cookie dough cake, and a Bostock (house-made brioche, almond syrup, frangipane, and toasted almond slices). Bostock+tea made a pretty solid breakfast.