by Mac Callihan
I'm Commisioner Adam Silver, Prophet Nation, Smith Holbrook is carousing the local county fair tonight with his family. I told him that I wouldn't let the podcast get out of control...that's his fault for believing me. Hahaaa! Love you guys, it's an honor, blah blah blah, let's get started...we are talking family lineage today!
Prophet Nation, I do not want your ancestry to be meaningless to you. If you don't care to understand how your great-great grandfather's hook shot carried his high school team to the state finals, where they suffered a heartbreaking double OT loss despite your granpap's 44 points and 22 boards, then that's your loss. Hell no. No. You can't even fathom something like that came before you, is a part of you, is still alive in you. You might just live like you came from...NOTHING. I lived that way for a long time. Too concerned with self and the present tense to consider any murky ancestors. They are dead or close to it, why should I give two shits about them? Sounds cold, but I was already busy enough.
I know many are adopted, and many are unaware of their true parent(s) or grandparents for a variety of reasons. A blessing or curse, it's the hand each has been dealt. If you CAN find your genetic contributors, I beseech you to uncover that unique lineage, those storied lives that led to...YOU. Find it if you can, seek it out, discover all you can about where you came from--trust me on this one.
My paternal grandmother I never knew much about, only stories from extreme youth from my father (who was her only son.) Father died from alcoholism when I was 5, and all I remember him mentioning about grandma was her sweetness and her sleight of hand. I'm sure he said more loving things, but my memory fails me.
We've been best friends for the past twenty years, but it took me until I was 28 to have even a shred of curiosity about her. Glad I did. Here is her story.
My grandmother is a Roma (gypsy) woman named Hester Lovina Silver and was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944. She was 20 years old, and beautiful. Life was miserable. One Nazi soldier took a particular liking to her, visiting her on a routine basis. He forbade comrades from touching her; he claimed her as his own. Already beaten, raped, and starved for sexual favors by this torturer, Hester was left impregnated and with broken toes/ribs. Even in the very early stages of pregnancy, my grandmother says the soldier was keen to her increasingly deceptive behavior...her nervousness. She knew the soldier would send her to a black nursery where the infant's death was guaranteed. She had seen it happen to her friends' newborns. Her child wouldn't be "German" enough, according to the "race specialists" who made such calls, so they would have him killed. This man hated my grandmother, and I remember her once telling me of his pleasure to learn of her pregnancy...the child would be a "dirty beast" she recalls him telling her.
One night, as he was raping her again in his private tent, he whispered darkly of the unfit doctor who would be performing the painful abortion. She recalls him laughing, claiming the doctor would "experiment" with her female parts when he was finished "taking out the trash." Hester says he reeked of vodka and was high on amphetamine as usual, that he was particularly rough with her fragile pregnant body on this night.
What he didn't know was that his naive little gypsy girl had considerable dexterity and stealth from years of pickpocketing. She slit his throat with his own knife as he was raping her. She pushed him off of her, covered his mouth with a pillow to silence any gargling...all while staring him in the eyes while he squirmed. Slowly and quietly, she slipped off nearly unnoticed into the eastern Polish forest. Two German soldiers spotted her from a good distance and several shots were fired. The only damage done was a clipped right collar bone. Close one, granny Hester. The soldiers gave chase but we're too drunk or slow to catch up.
She found safety in numbers in a large resistance group, and the war was soon to end. She got the hell out of Europe after the war, wanted as far away as possible. Ended up hitching west on a ship to Canada with two friends, and giving birth to my father in the hull of that ship. Damn right I'm proud of my gypsy heritage. Grandma Hester lived to tell about it. And because she lived, my father lived, and in turn, me, and on down to my children.
My grandmother is 93 years old and going strong. Steals my watch, wallet or cell phone when we hug or bump into each other (which is a lot, because she travels with me world wide aboard my plane.) I've never beat her at gin rummy, backgammon or chess. She routinely destroys me in high stakes heads up poker games aboard the plane and can drink me under the table. She juggles knives and speaks 4 different languages. I look up to her. What she teaches me about strategy and compassion, along with other varieties of wisdom, is priceless. We talk about eliminating hatred and frustrations, about improving from the inside out, about how indescribably beautiful the sunrise is, about Nazi Germany, about the hopes and follies of mankind, about tweaking our chili recipes, about poker, and about everything in-between. Her favorite Bible verse is in Ecclesiastes. That's her favorite book, too. It's def a top 3 Biblical book for me, having climbed the list recently. Grandma always says, "'Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry; for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.'" That's Ecclesiastes 7:9, Prophet Peoples.
Well, it's been a different kind of podcast, and it's been a great pleasure! It has been so special to fill-in for your beloved Smith Holbrook. And speaking of Smith, he just sent me a picture of his 2 year old grandson throwing a candy apple into the demolition derby ring. Ha! Thank you God for the county fair. Unreal. I've gotta head that way now, I've got a Ferris wheel to ride with my grandma Hester. Plus, gypsies love carnivals. I'm Adam Silver, and it's Prophet Reporting.