Archive of published Writing
Arrival My mother, Sary Fox, had dreamed of returning to Leipzig, in Saxony, almost since she had left it at the age of four, in 1934. She was seventy when the mayor’s office surprised her with an invitation to visit as part of a group of Leipzig Jews who were forced to emigrate during Nazi rule. Sary flew from her home, in Hollywood, Florida, and I rendezvoused with her in Frankfurt. Before the reunification of Germany, our English cousins, also formerly of Leipzig, had warned how broken down the city had become, along with the rest of what was then East Germany. The typical Leipziger did not own a telephone—and by that I mean one attached to a landline. Queues stretched outside shop doors for the chance to purchase exotic fruits and vegetables— such as bananas, oranges and tomatoes—during the handful of times they were available each year. The Communist
Nightlife “WE ARE VERY SORRY FOR THE ELEVATOR IS BEING OUT OF ORDER,” reads the sign on the only lift in the Budapest hotel. Four flights later I arrive at my room. Double doors worthy of a bank vault open to a large space with two beds and a wardrobe that could have been part of the original 1911 decor. Not so bad, I think as I step inside. The parquet separates like cracking ice and I sink a half inch into the floor. “There is much money but it is little,” explains the concierge as he hands me thousands of Hungarian forint in exchange for a single banknote. A smile appears under eyes touched with a melancholy that will become familiar during my stay in Hungary. Evening falls. In the hot, antique mezzanine, two barmaids leave their post to sit for drinks and cigarettes with the only other patron.