Confronting the Past Part 2

I seem to have given some of my former classmates the wrong impression in my last post. I am extremely happy and flattered that at least some of my classmates from High School think enough of me and my writings to re-establish contact with me. The main reason for even talking about this is one of my “faults” that I developed after High School is that I have become brutally honest, both with others and with myself. I feel that having managed to stay alive for sixty-five years entitles me to speak my mind and not worry about whom I offend.

Anyway, I was born in Germany in 1948. I was three years old when my family moved to this country. We first lived on a chicken farm in New Jersey for six months and then we lived in an apartment in South Philadelphia for six months while my dad worked in a mattress factory. Then he got a job at a tool and dye factory as a punch-press operator and we moved to Jenkintown where I started Kindergarten in 1953. In the middle of the school year in 1957, when I was in third grade, we moved to Willow Grove. That was momentous for me and my brother.

In Jenkintown, no one seemed to even notice our accents or cared that we were immigrants. However, the situation was much different after we moved. My brother and I were ridiculed constantly and frequently were called Nazis, something that bothered me immensely. I’ve never really talked to my brother about it so I have no idea how he felt about it. My brother and I are very different in a lot of ways and we handle things differently, let’s leave it at that.

I spent a lot of years being bullied, and I guess that’s why I was so shy and reserved. It was not until my Junior year in High School that I even started to come out of my shell. My senior year I emerged a bit more but it was not until I went off to college in 1966 that I really stopped being Bernie and became something else.

One of the major events of my Senior year, perhaps -the- major event, was the death of my mother in an automobile accident while my dad was driving home from the grocery store. I freely admit I was a momma’s boy and the loss of my mother really threw me for a loop. There are several weeks after her death that I have no memory of. The last thing I remember before the blanks is my mother’s funeral. I went to pieces emotionally and it took quite some time for me to regain my composure. I sometimes wonder at the fact that I was even able to finish my Senior year as well as I did.

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