Frieda's maternal instincts
Some of you have asked me to post the picture of Frieda described on page 10 of Motherland. Here it is and here is what I wrote:
“On the back of it (the picture) someone had written “9 Okt. [October in German] , 1939. The woman is standing, slightly hunched…with one hand on her matronly hip, and her other arm around a girl of about ten. The little girl looks the way my mother must have as a child. But it couldn’t be my mother, since the picture was taken after she had left for America. This must be someone else’s little girl. A slight camera smile contrasts with the woman’s dark-brown eyes, which look dazed and dispirited. Her small frame leans on the girl, as if she couldn’t stand without the child’s support. She looks slightly confused, somewhat forlorn; she had lost her guiding light, her sense of purpose.
“…But it wasn’t until after I gave birth to my first child and knew something about mothering that I finally understood the picture of my grandmother and the little girl. When her children left, my grandmother embraced another child. Like a female dog carrying a sock, she redirected the maternal instincts that would not be denied.”