Tag: memoir

Friends of Anne Frank Throw Her 90th Birthday Party in Her Apartment

Birthdays never stop being special; even when we grow tired of them, the people in our lives do not. Someone almost always shows up with a gift—socks, shirts, Doritos (thanks mom). It’s the thought that counts right? Pleasant reminders that we are not in the world alone. But, let’s be honest, sometimes the best gifts are the ones we personally pick out ahead of time. This was most definitely the case for young Anne Frank.

 

Image Via Mentalfloss.com

On June 11th, 1942, a day before her thirteenth birthday, Frank chose a gift. While browsing through a bookstore with her father, Anne Frank laid claim to a blank, red and checkered autograph book—Anne called this book “maybe one of my nicest presents [ever].” And it was. This book, which Anne famously used as a diary, would  become (arguably) the most important book—no, the most important object—of the entire twentieth century.

The day after that fateful browse, many of Anne’s friends attended a birthday party at her family’s modest apartment. It was a gleeful day courtesy of a seemingly endless supply of cookies (not so much) and black and white movies. A day that accomplished the gargantuan feat of distracting Amsterdam youth from the grim reality of World War II. Unfortunately, Anne would never experience a birthday like that again. Three weeks later her family was forced into hiding…and three years after that, in a Nazi concentration camp, Anne died.

Anne’s father Otto, was the only family member to survive the war and went on to publish Anne’s diary. The Diary of a Young Girl is among the best-known books in the world.  One of the most monstrous and discriminatory periods of human history documented through the eyes of a young girl—Anne Frank. Today, Anne is not only remembered by the billions of people who cherish the MANY translations of her diary, but also by the surviving attendants of her thirteenth birthday party. In her diary’s introduction, Anne expressed a desire to acquire a  “truest friend” with whom she could confide her innermost thoughts and feelings; she names Jacque Van Maarsen as a potential candidate.

 

Image Via Amazon.com

 

Jacqueline van Maarsen is now ninety-years-old. On Wednesday, Van Maarsen, along with Albert Gomes de Mesquita (who went to school with Frank), threw Anne a ninetieth birthday party. In the same tiny apartment (now restored), with a familiar looking autograph book and the same seemingly endless supply of cookies.

 

Jacqueline van Maarsen, center left, and Albert Gomes de Mesquita, center right, school friends of Anne Frank, pose for a photo with students from the International School of Amsterdam during an event to mark what would have been Anne Frank's 90th birthday, in Amsterdam on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
Image Via Time.com

Also in attendance were students from the International School of Amsterdam. Elbow to elbow, Van Maarsen and Gomes de Mesquita did their best to answer as many questions as they could. The pair were asked about everything from survival to general advise. How does one proceed in an unforgiving world?

 “I think you have to learn things from what happens. I’ve been helped by so many different people and they were Roman Catholic, Protestant, atheist, communist, rich, poor,” said Gomes de Mesquita. I’ve slept in twelve different places during hiding and my lesson is: Good people can be found everywhere.”

One student was particularly moved when Van Maarsen talked about how other people who endured the same hardships as Anne aren’t given the same amount of attention or appreciation.

“It was really incredible to meet them, not only as Anne’s friends but as survivors of the war,” said thirteen-year-old Sietse Munting. “I really tried to think about that and tried to think; ‘it’s not only Anne,’ he said. “Sure, we remember Anne because she’s very important — and we should remember her — but there were also many, many others who also faced this time.”

Although Anne Frank’s life may not have been long, what she was able to accomplish in her fifteen years of life, changed the world. Memoirs like hers make it impossible for us to ignore bigotry and violence. In a bittersweet way, the “truest friend” Anne desired came in the form of a gift she had chosen for herself. A gift that she shared her inner most thoughts and feelings with, and in doing so, confided in all of us.

 

Forever reminding us that we are not alone as long as we have a book.

 

Featured Image Via Time.com

Kyron Horman’s Mother to Release Book on Her Son’s Disappearance

On June 4th, 2010, 7-year-old Kyron Horman went missing from Skyline School in Oregon. The investigation into his disappearance has been one of the most scrutinized in the history of the state. Even though he still hasn’t been found, Kyron’s mother, Desiree Young, refuses to give up. To honor her son, Young announced that she will release a book about the investigation.

 

Titled Love You Forever – The Search for Kyron Horman, the book will be written by true crime author Rebecca Morris. It will feature journal entries from Young about the investigation as well as news clippings and notes about the progress (or lack thereof) of the search. Once published, the proceeds will go toward missing children finds.

 

The search for Kyron Horman has been devastating for Young and her extended family, with inner-strife causing division amongst the group. So much so that Young became suspicious of Kyron’s stepmother, Terri. Terri has denied any involvement in the disappearance. As traumatizing as it is to lose our child, Young said that sharing her story felt necessary:

 

“I want people to understand there are real people behind the story. It’s not a TV show, it’s our lives. I have been through hell and made it through the other end.”

 

The book is set to be released later this year. To this day, Young will continue to search for her son.

 

 

Featured Image Via KGW8

Upcoming ‘The Council of Dads’ Adaptation Tackles Mortality & Fatherhood

Each person we’re close with makes us feel a specific and inimitable way—every relationship is different. We are different with different people. Friends, coworkers, and acquaintances all make up the eternally-growing tapestry of our lives. We may grow apart from old friends and make new ones along the way, but the relationships we form will always be a part of who we were and are. In this way, the characters we spend time with are a direct reflection of ourselves. This is the notion that occurred to Bruce Feiler when he was tasked with facing his own mortality.

 

Image Via Amazonaws.com

 

In 2008, doctors told writer Bruce Feiler there was a cancerous tumor in his femur. Almost immediately, Bruce’s thoughts turned to his children. His three-year-old twin daughters. If he wasn’t around, who would advise them paternally? Tell them to put away their phones at the dinner table and take it easy on the family Suburban? He wanted them to know him. So he made a list of all the qualities of himself he wanted his girls to know and associated them with men he had known throughout his life. He had known these men since the playground, college, and various business ventures—men he trusted but may have lost touch with. He wrote them all letters, six in total, asking them to be a father to his daughters if the worst were to happen.

 

Image Via Goodreads.com

 

The worst didn’t happen, and the council was never fully activated, but Feiler’s story became the foundation of his book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me. The memoir became a best-seller and has now, according to Deadline, inspired a television show which was just picked up by NBC. Council of Dads stars Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, and J. August Richards. The show tells the story of Scott (quasi Bruce played by Clive Standen) and his family after he receives a potentially terminal diagnosis. Facing this grim prognosis, Scott and his wife (Sarah Wayne Callies) assemble a group of their closest three friends to help guide Scott’s family through all of life’s challenges. Deadline goes on to give us a preview of who these three influential men are as people:

The trusted group of role models Scott has assembled to help his family include his oldest friend Anthony, his AA sponsor Alrry and his surgeon and wife’s best friend Oliver. The three men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s family through “all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer — just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.

 

Image Via Variety.com

 

NBC is undoubtedly aiming for the type of drama associated with their uber-successful This Is Us in its Council of Dads pickupHopefully, the show will produce the same amount of tearfully smiling faces that the former has. Tony Phelan and Joan Rater will write and executive produce along with Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman, and Kristie Anne Reed. The pilot was directed by James Strong.

 

Featured Image Via Books2screen.com