Sweetness after Trauma 5, Out-takes

At one time this was an out-take of my novel – Shadows to Light. This passage is not a blooper, it is very true to the characters of the book, and true to my life. I’m glad I found the right place for this, a family spot in a family book. On the Dr. Phil show (yep I’m a fan) he says a primary job of family is to provide each other a “soft landing place.”

There were hard places and soft places in our family.

Such as all our moves,  preparing for the next place, the next life to be better, that was my family, maybe a lot like yours. (for my Dutch fans, here is a KLM -Royal Dutch Airlines –  jet-plane, post card style, circa 1960’s).

Such as trying to navigate the recent past — missing our family in other countries. Such as the far past, not all of it discussed, it was just too harsh – or so some of us thought. And then, there was what for a long time was not remembered, suppressed, as my father had done. I eventually learned there were somethings my father could not tell me, the memory was gone, until a supposedly unlinked event would bring it back.

So this fiction passage has much of my own story, and I’m glad it became an out-take and then an in-take for Shadows to Light.

What are your out-takes, where have you landed?

Excerpt from Shadows to Light, by Janneke Jobsis-Brown

One gray day in 1964, I stumbled into JFK airport in New York. I was six years old and we had left our homeland a ten hour plane ride behind us. I trailed my parents. Toddler Albert held Mammie’s hand, and Pappie carried our shoulder bags when I was suddenly slammed flat on the ground. Reeling from the smack on my forehead, I lay flat on cold tile. I popped back up, dizzy. A fuzziness in front of me alongside a clear walkway materialized. I had run into a glass wall threaded with wires in order to be a visible barrier, only I never saw it.

“Oh liefje,” Mammie and Albert ran to me. Pappie turned and his hands  gently explored the bump emerging on my forehead.

“I never saw the glass,” I sobbed. In my exhaustion I apologized for being so wrong.

Still maar Hush now,” said Pappie. The shoulder bags bumped against me as he picked me up, then we moved on.

Beyond that is what I don’t remember of our move to America. What we don’t remember, I have learned, is still memory. Missing memory is the threaded glass with too much or too little to recall.  My memory takes me straight from playing at Beppe en Pake’s (grandparents’) house in Nederland (Holland) to flat on a cold airport tiles in the U.S.

What are your out-takes, your landing place?

On the Dr. Phil show, he talks about one of the cruicial jobgs of failies is to give us a soft landing place. JFK was a hard landing place that day in 1964 for my main character,  Luce. Her family life, with all their foibles still provided soft landing places.  What are some of your cold tile floors and soft landing places?

The ones in my life, not the characters have been: the talks I can have with family today, the talk with my friend Fred who talks with me about what life before during and after the concentration camps was really like for DutchIndonesians. And I also cherish this family of choice (FOC’s), I have had so many FOC’s, all those good friends, after starting life so shy, always feeling like the little foreign girl, the different one. Tell me your story, I hope you do, and I wish I could send you this reward, a KLM stewardess flight pin for kids. Wish I would have kept mine.

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2 Responses to “ “Sweetness after Trauma 5, Out-takes”

  1. Denise says:

    Nice Out-take! I love your stories.
    And, like Luce have run into a glass door (Ouch!) in a foreign country where everything looks different and it’s easy to feel out of place.

    A nice reminder for us all to provide “soft landing spots” for those around us.

  2. Janneke says:

    Denise, tell me which foreign country. It’s so weird, as you can gather, when the foreign country is your new home, and you can’t just “up and go back.” I’m going to keep thinking of “soft landing spots” for those around us too. The soft landing spot that it took me the longest time to provide for anyone, is a simple smile to strangers, and to those you know. The eye contact and smile thing, I know I like that. Isn’t it sweet when our own kids provide soft landing spots for us. Sometimes my 17 year old will actually compliment me, and its like, “awwww, that’s so sweet.”

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