The year is 1949. Jeannette sits on the edge of her hospital bed dressed and ready to go home with her newborn baby. She collapses onto the floor. Her brain is bleeding. Jeannette’s husband, Nathan, is in the army, a brand new ophthalmologist. Their eight-year-old daughter lies in the hospital with a burst appendix.
The year is 1905. Nathan is born into a shtetl in Bershad, Russia. He doesn’t know he will come into life during the worst Jewish pogroms in Russia’s history, a bleak world filled with fear of starvation and death from hatred.
The time is the Great Depression. Jeannette and Nathan meet and marry in Philadelphia. He is from poverty and she is from wealth. He is a struggling student and she has graduated from the University of Pennsylvania at the top of her class in mathematics. The marriage takes place without her family’s approval.
I am the baby born in 1949. I will come into this world of past and present, of horses hooves and bleeding brains and burst appendix. How do love and laughter flourish and grow in this endangered garden? How is intergenerational fear transmitted and survived? What does trauma do to blur our vision? This is Myopia, a memoir, a few of the tales I can tell from my life.