Monday, July 30, 2007

Distances and communications

Back at the turn of the 20th century all of my various great-grandparents, most of them young couples with small children, took leave of their parents, siblings and cousins in various towns and cities of what at the time was Russia, and went to America. With one notable exception, they never saw any of their relatives ever again. The separation was forever, as eveyone involved knew.

It also saved the lives of all those who migrated, as they perhaps sensed it might, but that is a different story.

Many years later my father, their grandson, went off to serve in the American military. He was already married, didn't see his wife for some months, and then got shipped off to Germany. Months later she joined him there; when I was born, a while later, one of my grandmothers came over to Germany; this was the only member of their family my parents saw for the entire three-year duration.

In the 1970's I joined the army (the Israeli one, the family having changed countries in the meanwhile). By the end of the week I was back home for the weekend. Though, truth be told, later on I often did spend many weeks with no leave, with only one weekly phonecall on Saturday night, with half of the platoon standing in line listening to the conversation and kvetching if anyone talked more than 46 seconds

Yesterday Achikam went in. Throughout the entire day I kept looking at my cellphone, hoping he'd call, or at least send a text message. Eventually he called, late in the evening. What a long day it was.

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