Allons-y mes enfants said the Sister. No Bastille Day celebration this year. Big flags again, but not the bleu blanc et rouge. The running flags. The red faced moustache continued to scream. The stones of the chateau were cool to the touch. There was a well. You mustn’t fall in it or let the soldiers see you. Shhh. Children must be quiet in case the soldiers come back.

Then au revoir, bien dormir mes amis and a ship that trembled on the sea. What ails you oh sea that you flee/the mountains skipped like rams/the hills like lambs. The children skipped out of the country and laughed on the shiny deck. There was a boat with American Quakers who looked like anyone else. Nibble crackers so as not to go sick over the railing.

There was an ocean, a big blue ocean and on the other side lived Judy Garland and Andy Hardy on a friendly Main Street with fireworks for the Fourth of July red white and blue. You didn’t always remember the sound of Mutti’s voice saying shhh be a good girl and we will be together soonHer lipstick was red on your cheek her coat was beige and very soft.


Janet Rosen’s nonfiction has appeared in Glamour, Paper, and Lilith. As a storyteller, she has performed at “New York Story Exchange” and “WORD the Storytelling Show.” Her previous fiction for the Lilith blog, also an imagined exploration of the inner lives of her mother and aunts, was “The Orphans.”