Map of Europe showing the author's various moves.
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My Inner Rock Star Powers

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What are Inner Rock Star Powers? A search on Google results in many fields where those powers are essential for success: music bands and business. According to that article, the powerful rock star powers you must cultivate to build and sustain massive success in your life and work are:

  1. Focus
  2. Resilience
  3. Discipline
  4. Courage

I never belonged to a music band, nor was I ever a businesswoman. However, as I reflect upon my life, I can identify 11 events which demanded some of these traits.

  1. As a seven-year old, in 1947, my life took a dramatic change.
  • My family moved from Poland to Belgium.
  • I found out that I was Jewish and not Catholic.
  • My “uncle” was really my biological father.
  • I had to struggle to adapt to a new lifestyle and learn a new language – French.

2. 1951: Another move.

  • We moved to Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Another home
  • Another school
  • Another language – German

3. 1959: At 19, my life took another turn.

  • Not only did I get married but adapted to my husband’s Orthodox practices.
  • I found myself thrown into the role of a US Chaplain’s wife.
  • Being the “first lady” of a 500 member congregation and living in a “glass house” took a lot of adapting and discipline.
  • In addition, I found myself being a “surrogate mother” to lonely G.I.s.
  • And English was now my primary language.

4. 1963: Brought about other big changes again.

  • My husband was transferred back to the States, home for him but a new country for me.
  • I had to leave my parents and travel thousands of miles away.
  • I had to adapt to a new culture, “Weltanschauung” (world outlook) and family.
  • I was the “new guy” on the block, the “Greenhorn.”
  • I did not belong.

5. 1965: Just two years later brought changes again.

  • My husband left the Army and took a rabbinical position in a very small town in Pennsylvania.
  • As everyone here knew everyone, no matter where I went, I was greeted with “You must be the new Rabbi’s wife!”
  • Everything our two children or I did or wore was food for gossip.

6. 1968: Three years later, saw another move, this time to Pittsburgh, PA.

  • A new living condition, new friends, new school for the children.
  • The good part was that I decided to go back to school.
  • I earned my degree.
  • I became a teacher while juggling being a wife and mother.

7. 1972: Another move, as my husband, Howard, climbed the career ladder, this time to St. Louis, MO.

  • Just before our move, my husband was the recipient of a very prestigious honor. He was to spend six weeks in New York for a special program for Jewish educators.
  • As soon as we unpacked in our new apartment, he left, and I was alone with our children in this new environment.
  • I did not mope, researched interesting sites in Missouri, took one day to unpack and one day for day trips with our two children.

8. 1973: The children were settled and I looked for a job.

9. 1996: I retired and considered other professions/volunteer opportunities.

  • Money management
  • I was a volunteer computer helper in a Senior Assisted living community.
  • I was a volunteer docent at the St. Louis Holocaust and Learning Center.
  • Spoke to schools, Army bases and community organizations about my Holocaust experiences.
  • I wrote my memoir, edited my father’s Holocaust experiences and published both.

10. 2012: My husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

  • We moved to Baltimore to be near our family.
  • I became his care partner.

11. 2014: I founded the Baltimore Holocaust Survivor Group (part of the Baltimore Jewish Council).

12. 2019: COVID Pandemic.

  • Mine and the world’s life changed forever.
  • My husband’s health deteriorated, and I became “head of household.”

In all these circumstances, I needed Focus, Resilience, Discipline and Courage. I never realized I had Rock Star Powers. I just did what needed to be done and adapted.

To paraphrase Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof: “It does not make a difference, but it is nice to know.”

Please leave your comments below. 

Read more by Felicia Graber.

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