One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping

One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping by Barry Denenberg Read Free Book Online

Book: One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping by Barry Denenberg Read Free Book Online
Authors: Barry Denenberg
Tags: Juvenile Fiction, Lifestyles, City & Town Life
meeting Hitler face-to-face. Mr. Blumenthal added that Hitler’s crazy ideas might be all right for the Germans but he won’t get very far with them here in Vienna.
Daddy and Mr. Heller were strangely quiet and kept looking at one another as if there was some secret they shared.
I wish I knew what Daddy and Mr. Heller were thinking but I’m afraid to ask. I don’t think they are as optimistic as the others. I’m not, either.
Max went right to his room after dinner, and I wanted to talk to him so much that I decided to risk knocking on his door.
He was rolling one of his cigarettes (actually he’s gotten quite good at it) and, at first, he looked annoyed
that I had disturbed him. But when I told him why I’d come he softened and was like he used to be.
He said he wasn’t going to lie to me. They are all underestimating the seriousness of the situation: os-triches sticking their heads in the sand and hoping Hitler will just go away. But, Max said, Hitler isn’t go-ing to go away.
He offered me a puff of his cigarette and I took it because I didn’t want him to think I was afraid.
For what seemed like the longest time, we sat there in silence, broken only by the sound of the dinner party going on outside.
Finally Max spoke. He said only when the Jews are in Palestine will they be safe and not until then.
But I can’t believe that. I won’t believe that. Why should we not be safe here? We are living in Vienna.
Miss Sachs’s apartment building doesn’t even have an elevator and, since her apartment is way up on the top floor, I had to walk up nine flights of regular stairs and then, as if that wasn’t enough, climb up this
winding iron staircase that goes nearly to the roof. Her tiny apartment is the only one on the whole entire floor — you would hardly know it is even up there.
She’s not nearly as old as I thought she would be and she certainly teaches English differently than they do in school. For one thing, she speaks perfect English — she doesn’t even have an accent — but she talks so fast I can barely keep up. When I complain she laughs and warns me that soon we will be speaking only English (I honestly don’t see how that is possible). The best part is the last half of each lesson. We listen to gramophone records by American singers. Miss Sachs says this will improve my pronunciation and
make it more authentic.
Today we listened to the Boswell Sisters and they are terrific . My favorite song is “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.” Next week we’re going to listen to someone named Ella Fitzgerald. She’s a Negro.
Miss Sachs says that by the time we’re done I will speak English just as well as she does, but I think she’s saying that just to be nice.
Even though Miss Sachs lives in the opposite direc-tion from Mrs. Konig I still turn right when I leave school as if I was going to my piano lesson. Then I
walk all the way around the block because if Sophy sees me going a different way she will wonder why and start asking all sorts of questions I don’t have answers for. I’ve never really lied to Sophy about anything and I don’t want to start now.
Daddy said to be certain no one sees me. Although I’m not sure why he’s so insistent about this (now that I think about it, I don’t even understand why it’s so important that I take English lessons), Daddy must have a good reason. Especially because Mother thinks I’m still taking piano lessons! I asked Daddy what would hap-pen if Mother ran into Mrs. Konig and he said I should take care of learning English and he would take care of Mother and Mrs. Konig.
Ernst Resch was watching me today, standing there surrounded by his friends. At first I was worried that, somehow, he knew where I was going, but I think he was just being his creepy self.
Sophy told me at recess that Mr. Erickson started talking about the Jews right in the middle of the geog-raphy lesson. He

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