Four days without any entry from Papa.
Papa's silence started after he wired money home for his father's tombstone. He would have wondered if the money had found its way there, wondered whose hands it passed between, wondered, now that his father's grave was part of the landscape, what other transformations had taken place in Sniatyn. He would have wondered if he could even recognize his home town after eleven years. He would have wondered who else he would never see again.
Each night he must have picked up his pen to write in his journal; each night he must have put it back down, weary, perhaps, of his faraway thoughts, angered by their contents, unwilling to give them permanence. But still they persisted. What places did he picture as he lay in bed, staring at his untouched diary on the nightstand? What faces did he see when he closed his eyes and waited for sleep to bring him relief?
Though most of the above photos are from the 1930's, they hint at how many people Papa left behind and why he (like countless others who came to America before and after him) struggled with such remarkable homesickness and loneliness.
The top three photos have notes on the back written in Hungarian script (I think) to Papa by his sister Gitel. Here's the back of the first one:
It says something like: "Schlojme [Schloyme], Tabale, Chave-Surale, Tabel's husband -- Welwel [Velvel], Fulkale, Fule, Ruchale, Leiser. Sitting: Gerschale with Tabel's younger children -- Josale [Yusale], Chaje-Surale [Chaya-Surale]." Gitel is fourth from the right and left herself out of the note.
Here's the back of the next one:
It says the people in the photo are (standing, from left) Fule, Leiser, [Chava] Suraly and (seated, from left) Gitel, and Pinkas. There are also a few words directed to Papa, my grandmother (Jean) and mother (Phyllis).
I can't tell what the back of the third photo says, but maybe someone out there who's used to reading Hungarian script can chime in:
The fourth photo is, of course, of Papa's father and mother, Joseph and Fagale Scheurman.