The Plum Tree

The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman Read Free Book Online

Book: The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ellen Marie Wiseman
Tags: Fiction, Historical, Coming of Age, Jewish
fist over her heart while she searched her desk. Two sheets of leftover school paper were folded near the back of the drawer, and she found a stubby pencil between a stack of old books and her aged Steiff teddy bear, which used to growl when she squeezed his stomach but no longer uttered so much as a moan. She tucked the stone into the front right-hand corner of the drawer, took a book off the shelf, and held it beneath the paper. Then she sat on her bed and stared at the blank sheet, blinking through her tears. Finally, she wiped her eyes and began to write.
     
Dearest Isaac,
This morning, I was so happy. But now, I’m frightened and sad. You were right about everything you tried to tell me about Hitler and the Nazi discrimination against the Jewish people. I apologize for not taking you more seriously. My mother just told me that we can no longer work for your family because of another new law. She says we can’t see each other. I don’t understand what’s happening. Please tell me that we’ll find a way to be together. I miss you already.
Love,
Christine
     
    She folded the letter into a wrinkled envelope she found in one of her books, sealed it, and took it to her mother.
    “ Bitte, set the table,” Mutti said. She hung her apron on the back of the kitchen door and shoved her arms into her black wool coat. “The Wurst and onions are finished. Cover the pan and leave it on the edge of the stove to stay warm.” She opened her handbag and slid the letter between her change purse and a pair of gray gloves. “If I’m not back within the hour, start without me.”
    Christine stood in the hall and watched her mother hurry down the steps, fear and anger pressing into her stomach like a slab of cold granite. It wasn’t like her mother to fidget with her scarf and the collar of her coat, and the hard heels of her shoes clacked down the front hall even faster than usual. After Christine heard the front door close with a heavy thud, she made her way into the front room.
    The front room doubled as the family and dining room, with an antique maple sideboard that held books, dishes, and tablecloths, an oak dining table and eight mismatched chairs, a horsehair couch, an end table for the radio, and a wood- and coal-burning stove. On the wall between the two front windows overlooking the garden and the cobblestone street was her mother’s treasured tapestry, an embroidered landscape of snow-covered Alps, dark forests, and running elk. The wall hanging came from Austria, a souvenir from her parents’ honeymoon. The only other decoration in the room was a cherry regulator with a gold pendulum that once belonged to Christine’s Ur-Ur Grossmutti, great-great grandmother.
    Oma was sitting on the couch, darning a sock from a tangled pile of leggings and undergarments that sat in her aproned lap like a multicolored cat. Her silver hair was braided and pinned in a neat circle around her head, her veined hands working in a steady rhythm. Beside her, the radio crackled and squawked, a man’s commanding voice announcing more rules and regulations from the Führer. When Oma saw Christine, she turned off the radio, put down her needle and thread, and patted the couch cushion.
    “Come sit by me, good girl,” she said. “ Du bist ein gutes Mäd-chen . Did you see your mother?”
    “Ja,” Christine said, falling into the couch beside her.
    “It’s another sad day in Germany,” Oma said.
    Christine leaned against her, searching for comfort in her soft shoulder and familiar smell of lavender soap and rye bread. It was Oma who had taught her and Maria how to knit and sew, and Christine had fond memories of sitting next to her on the couch, working the yarn and cloth into doll clothes and miniature blankets while Oma hummed church hymns. Growing up, Christine had always looked to Oma for solace, whether to dry tears from a skinned knee, or to soothe a bruised ego from the rare parental scolding. It wasn’t that her mother was cold or

Similar Books

Memories Of You

Bobbie Cole

Viviane

Julia Deck

Pearl

Lauraine Snelling

L'or

Blaise Cendrars

Best Frenemies

Cari Simmons

A Close Run Thing

Allan Mallinson

1512298433 (R)

Marquita Valentine