Yesterday I was under the weather. All I wanted to do was sleep. After taking the son to school, I retreated to the bedroom, inviting Max the dog to join me, and stayed there until noon. After picking up the son, I rested again and then prepared a fine supper for the guys: baked salmon, bay scallops in linguine, at the son's request. I wasn't into eating - alarming in itself - so after they went off to Scouts, I shared a couple of pieces of toast with Max.
This morning I am fairly back to normal, thankfully. No queasy stomach or sleepiness. I just had a morning nosh of fresh out of the oven soft breadsticks and queso, caving into a cheesy craving. So far so good.
Sophie Turner-Zaretsky of New York is a Holocaust survivor. She donated a tiny teddy bear, named Refugee, to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The bear was given to her by her mother when she was a child in Poland, during the war. The museum made a replica of the bear and allowed Mark Polansky, a NASA space shuttle commander, to take it into space aboard Discovery in December. Polansky wanted to use the gesture as a tribute to his father, Irving, who died in 2001. He also wanted to raise awareness about the current genocide happening in Darfur.
"It's probably the strangest phone call the museum ever got," Polansky said in the Washington museum Tuesday, according to an article in the Houston Chronicle. The museum made a call to Turner-Zaretsky and she happily, gratefully, complied with the request. "He hasn't got a Jewish mother," Turner-Zaretsky joked about Polansky, whose mother, Edith, is a native Hawaiian of Korean descent, according to the article.
Turner-Zaretsky spoke to Polansky for the first time Tuesday as Polansky returned the bear to the museum, attending a ceremony marking the occasion. She said she nervously monitored the Discovery trip into space on the NASA web site each day to make sure all were ok.
Turner-Zaretsky was born in Poland in 1937. Nazis forced her family into living in a ghetto in 1941, with her father then dying in 1942. She escaped with her mother, pretending to be Catholic and moved to England in 1948. She came to believe she was a Christian. She was traumatized to learn from her mother later in life that they were, in fact, Jews. So, in 1963 she started a new life as a medical student in the U.S.
Refugee, the teddy bear, accompanied Turner-Zaretsky on her journey.
"Traveled 5,330,398 miles," Polansky read from a certificate he gave Turner-Zaretsky. "In space 12 days, 20 hours, 45 minutes."
"Not bad for a bear."
Not bad at all.