Welcome to the Blima Post!

Hello Again!–Welcome to Blima’s blog.  While we are all survivors, perhaps Blima, the young woman who would one day wed my father, give birth to two children, reinvent herself yet again, truly embodied the word “survivor.”  This blog will concern the hopes of a frail young woman who somehow found the strength, the “iron” to survive.  She is like all of us, really, yet one wonders if we, if I could stand up to the enormous challenges Blima faced.  I wonder…What I do know, what the lessons Blima has taught, is that I cannot ignore the world because when one isn’t looking that world could be on our doorstep.  But this is only one of her lessons.  For now, I leave you with another poem…


Mother, you can

shed your clothes now

the paper rag skin

slipping in the joints

a creaky skeleton

shed the deep crevice of cheek

let fall the half moon

mouth the angled nose

the pleading eye

shed the bones the

stilled heart.

And step upon that cloud

the one on the right


drift higher let it carry you

up beyond the sad earth

beyond the crumbling mountains

beyond the silent horizon

higher up until

you are there.

Until you see him

your lover

hair no longer silver

smile the same

as when you met

until you see him

brother slapping knee

sneaking glances at his gold watch

sisters in a circle

saved before the fire

laughing holding you a spot

father looking stern under his hat, but

his blue eyes–your eyes–are warm.

Until you see mother

who raises both her arms

towards you–

she can reach you now

no one to hold her back

no one to grab you take you away

she can reach you now

take her hand go to her

you can now

your legs are nimble again

and your long wavy brown hair will chase behind

try your mouth

it is full like an apple

go now to her

you can, you know

go now, go home.

Until next time–Shirley


About shirleywachtel

Shirley Russak Wachtel is the author of The Story of Blima—A Holocaust Survivor (publ.2005), a novel which recounts the early years of her mother, Betty Weisstuch Russak. The novel s listed as a recommended novel by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education. Wachtel is the author of several children's books, including a series of interactive mysteries, Charlie Wonder, Chef-Detective (2005), which includes several recipes; Brad Sureshot, Coach-Detective (2007) which details basketball skills; and Howie Rocket, World-Traveler-Detective (2009) which has handy foreign language phrases. In The Mellow Light (2009) is her first book of poetry. She is a professor of English at Middlesex County College in New Jersey. In addition, Wachtel is the co-author of Spotlight on Reading (2011), a textbook for college-level students. A mother of three sons, she resides with her husband, Arthur, in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Initially written as a doctoral dissertation for her Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, My Mother's Shoes , says Wachtel, is not just the novel of her life, it is the novel of her heart.
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