First Time, Long Time

Posted by mwallach on June 15, 2011 in Crazy Follows Me Everywhere, New To You |

Dear That’s Life,

No: I did not fall off the face of the earth.

No: I did not forget that I have a blog which needs to be updated regularly.

No: Life has not been boring, leaving without anything to share.

Yes: My hard drive crashed, I lost all of my data and have been without a computer since.

Who hopes their computer has a virus? I did. At least I thought that would be a better option than what was waiting for me behind door #2, which was a broken hard drive and irretrievable data. Unfortunately, this is not an episode of ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ so I was not given a choice. I was informed that my laptop on which I have been working incessantly was completely inoperable, the data I had not backed up was lost (i.e. just about everything) and that it was time to move on with my day.  Besides all of the pictures I have lost that can never be recovered or reshot, the “Dear That’s Life” folder which sat so prominently on my desktop is now lost in cyber never-never-land. May it rest in peace.

So much has happened in a week. The first thing I would have told you about, after explaining why I had not been in touch, is how the book written by my great-grandfather and found by a complete stranger in Maine had finally been returned. It could not have arrived in a more dramatic fashion, making its way into my home right before Shabbos. I was only able to open the package immediately before lighting candles, but had to wait until shabbos had started to actually hold the book.

It is not that I had never seen the book before, as I have memories of it on our bookshelf when I was growing up. However, no copy had ever made its way into my own home nor had I ever been in possession of one personally. There was something incredibly special about opening it with Shabbos having just begun, as if I was bringing more than the Shabbat Malkah into my home. Rather, my ancestors were with me as well and if ever I had felt their presence, it was  right at that moment.

‘Kit Kat’, the person who had bought the book and then searched for a member of the family to whim he could return it, said it had been his ‘life’s mission’ to find one of us who would take it back on behalf of us all. As a person who does not believe in coincidences, I knew there must have been a reason he found me, after ten years of searching for someone who could lay a legitimate claim to the book. When I opened the book it became immediately apparent why, out of anyone else, the book was meant to be mine.

The first page in the book was filled with a personalized note my great-grandfather had written to a now defunct library to which he had donated this copy. While that was meaningful, the best was yet to come. Turning further, I reached the dedication page. It was at that moment that I froze, stared at the page and just started to cry – because the book had been dedicated to me.

My maternal great-grandmother was not only the author’s wife and the person to whom the book was actually dedicated, but she was also my namesake.  Seeing my name written in this book, I was unable to speak for a while, my breath completely taken away.  I motioned to my husband to take a look at the book, pointing specifically to its dedication. He did not get it at first, but then, as obvious as the black ink on these white pages, it hit him like a ton of bricks. He was able to muster a , “WOW” as he, too, was shocked by what he had seen, though it explained the tears rolling down my cheek, one after the other. “Well,” he said with complete authority, as if the clouds had parted and the light was shining on through, “I guess the book really did come home.”

Even if I could have spoken at that very moment, I would not have been able to say it better myself.


p.s. Now – wasn’t this worth waiting for?

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