Staying with Grandma isn’t so bad. She bakes, teaches me how to cook my favorite foods, talks about the days when mom was young, and shows me pictures. One thing she has never done is talk about her past which I find rather odd. Her friends are nice too, but mostly older, so I don’t have much in common with them. After a week or so at Grandma’s, I always start to get a bit antsy. I like to keep busy and absolutely hate being bored, so one day I walked out into the yard and, for no real reason, went over to the shed. As the door creaked open, I remembered that the shed wasn’t a very appealing place. It was just dirty and full of cobwebs. I’m not sure what I would find in there, but I was disappointed when I realized that, except for a few old crates with cardboard boxes in them, it was empty. The boxes appeared to be both plain and ordinary, except for the fact that a few of them were stamped with some unusual design. I had just started toward the boxes when, suddenly, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. Something or someone was standing behind me in the doorway.
I quickly turned around fearing the worst, but it was just Grandma. “Hello Michael. What are you doing in here?” she asked curiously.
“I felt like doing a bit of exploring and I have never really been in this shed before,” I said innocently. “By the way, what exactly is in those boxes and what are those strange symbols?” “Oh, those are just old boxes filled with dust and cheesy photo albums,” she replied furtively. There was something in her eyes that told me she was trying to avoid the subject. I rubbed my eyes. I must be hallucinating. “It’s time for dinner anyways.” She stated, quickly changing the subject. I pretended to completely forget about those boxes, but they had not left my mind for one second. I had made a decision. When grandma went to bed, I would sneak out and find out why she was being so evasive about those boxes. I don’t know what I expected to find in there, but definitely not what I did.
As my Grandma went to bed, I tip-toed out of my bedroom jumping at the slightest sound for fear that I would be caught and my mission would turn into a failure. I was determined to find the contents of those mysterious boxes in the shed. As I stealthily closed the front door, I made sure to look behind me. Luckily, no one was there so I ran to the shed and walked in. I saw that the boxes were made of wood, but I had not come unprepared. I took out my pocket knife and ferociously stabbed through the wood. I was utterly confused at what tumbled from the boxes. Old letters fell out and there were dozens of them. I picked one up and the name said Aaron Goldman which sounded like a very peculiar name. As I took out my knife to open the letter, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up for the second time that day. I whipped around to find grandma standing there with her hands on her hips and my heart quickly sped up.
“Uh…uh…grandma, what are you doing here so late at night?” I stuttered.
“I was just about to ask you the same thing Michael,” she said with authority.
“I’m sorry, I was just too curious to stay away from those boxes,” I sighed.
“Well I couldn’t hide this from you forever,” she said luring me in. She patted a seat next to her and started talking.
I used to live in Germany at the time of Hitler’s reign. It was in 1939 when war broke out with the Jews caught in the middle. I was only 39 at the time myself and felt guilty to live in a country with such a tyrant and not do anything about it. One day I was leaving the market and saw a family of Jews running through the alleyways. They looked wet, cold, and gnarled so I felt I had to help them. I couldn’t call myself a God fearing Christian today if I had not done what I did. I brought this family and hid them in the basement. The family was called the Goldman’s. The only time it ever got dangerous for them was when S.S. soldiers came to look for Jews, but we made sure to hide them well. They would say, “Are you hiding any Jews?!” Even if we said that we weren’t, they never believed us. After the war, the Goldman’s moved to the United States as did we. Their father, Aaron Goldman, always made sure to stay in touch with us by writing letters.
“All these crates are filled with the letters he sent me after the war,” she said with tears in her eyes. I felt that I might cry too because it was the most inspirational thing I had heard in my whole life. I said two simple words, “Thank you.” After that, I never asked about those boxes again, but I always thought of the meaning behind them. When my mom came to pick me up she asked, “Did you learn anything on this trip?”
I answered, “More than you can ever know.”