I was twelve years old when I first read The Diary of Anne Frank. I don't know why I wanted to read it, I do recall knowing about WWII and some things about the Holocaust because my grandfather fought in the war. And I was just a really, really empathetic and reflective child. Such a weirdo-I know hehe But I guess not much as changed. I read it because I wanted to. And I recall that while I was reading it, I could relate to so much Anne was talking about. I suppose we were both reflective and deep thinking children.
I also recall finding out after reading it that she died so close to the camp she was in being liberated. That just broke my heart and it still does.
I began journaling at the age of nine. I still have all of my journals. I journaled from nine until my late 20's. My journaling went from writing about me to writing about my children and now I have scrapbook albums and baby books. I know how therapeutic writing can be and I know the power that releasing emotions/thoughts can be for your being. I can only imagine how writing in her journal must have pulled Anne through some tough times while she was in hiding.
This weekend I had the pleasure of going to The Anne Frank Center USA in Manhattan. I have never been there before but my friend Sean from The Fictionista mentioned this center to me and encouraged me to go. So grateful I did. Thank you Sean!
My husband and I were greeted by an outstanding staff who showed us around and answered all of our questions. A copy of Anne's dairy is on display, the original being in The Secret Annex. We were able to see many photos of the Frank family that I have never seen before. I must say it was lovely to see them up close and in person. I felt more connected to them. I thought a few times to myself, that family is our family. I am a mother now with three small children, what wouldn't I do for them...I can now not only relate to Anne but to her mother and father-Edith and Otto Frank.
There was also a detailed time line that we viewed. I learned SO much from reading it!Miep Gies who helped hide and care for the Franks and others while they were in hiding. Just to give you a taste of that interview-when asked why she helped them-her answer was, "because it was the natural thing to do." She was an incredible woman who never saw herself as someone special because of what she did. She passed on in 2010 and the beautiful age of 100. Bless her.
The center also hosts educational workshops and lectures as well as hosting various exhibits throughout the year. Anne Frank has been special to me for a very long time but now her whole family is. Now that I am a woman and a mother, I can really appreciate her story on a deeper and different level. I can also now look at things from a different angle and ask myself some harder questions. Questions like "why do these things happen?" and "what would I have done?"
The day I went out was a deary, rainy, and cold day in New York. I had a fabulous outfit planned that was inspired by Anne Frank but I would have to wear that another time. I threw on my trusty vintage jeans, a white blouse, black cardigan, and a snood. I did wear a brooch that was purchased via Etsy from a woman who was selling her late aunts jewelry. It is from the 1940's and she told me it was from during the war. I love simple pieces like these-don't you?
When you get a chance, please stop by The Anne Frank Center USA. It is located just two blocks North of the World Trade Center site. It is something you should not miss out on. And their staff was truly phenomenal. My husband and I chatted with one of the staff members for almost an hour and a half. He was just glowing with goodness and good energy. Talking to him was like talking to a kindred spirit.
So, my head and my heart were filled and satisfied that day. Afterwards, we went out to eat at a cool little joint in Manhattan that I will share with all of you in Hey Doll Vintage Magazine's Issue Two coming out on March 2nd!