“Judy?” Bubbe’s voice was frantic. I’d never heard her this way.
“Bubbe? What’s the matter? Is Grandpa okay?” My grandfather had a mini-stroke a couple of months earlier, and was basically homebound.
“Grandpa’s fine. We’ve been robbed. All my jewelry, Grandpa’s diamond cufflinks, and the menorah. All gone.”
“I’ll be right there, Bubbe,” I promised. As I drove the nine miles to Bubbe’s house, I contemplated a future without her beloved menorah. The menorah was her most precious possession, the sole reminder of her father, who’d perished in the camps. Bubbe and Grandpa had gone to the doctor. When they returned, they found their apartment in disarray and their curio cabinet empty. Everything of value was gone. But none of it mattered as much as the menorah, Bubbe’s link to her beloved father, to her childhood, which came to a premature end in the ghettos. It took me a long time to calm her down.
We filed a police report, but the police couldn’t help us. Bubbe’s insomnia, which had kept her awake most of the night, worsened. She began obsessing over her safety, double and triple-locking the doors, refusing to leave her home. My mother and I were at our wits’ end. We even engaged the services of a private detective. It cost us a pretty penny, but it accomplished nothing.
Bubbe eventually stopped talking about her loss, but something inside her died when her menorah was stolen. And then, right before she passed away, Bubbe brought it up again.
I had come to visit with my husband, Steve, and our children. Grandpa was using a simple menorah, and Bubbe looked at us, eyes brimming with moisture.
“Judy, I’d like for you to have my Papa’s menorah.”
“Papa’s menorah? But it’s been gone for years.” Was Bubbe losing her mind?
“You’ll find it someday, Judy,” she said enigmatically.