Essay from Joan Beebe



Originally my dad was a farmer but around 1943, we moved to the city.  This was a hard transition for my dad, especially, and we kids were also not exactly happy to leave the life we had known. Nevertheless, we were enrolled in school, met the neighbor children and settled down to our new home.

The war on and the neighbors and children knew our last name was German.  We were fighting the Germans and somehow the neighbor kids decided that we weren’t good people and thus started the harassment.  My mother would send my brother and I to a little grocery store around the corner. The kids would see us and make a circle around us taunting us with names and trying to keep us from walking to that store.  Well, they didn’t know that my brother and I were fighters and that is what we did so, eventually, we did get to the store for my mom.  We also had the German swastikas drawn on our steps and sidewalk in front of our house.  It took some time and letting the kids know we wouldn’t back down for them to finally stop the harassment.  We all grew to accept one another and played all kinds of games with them.

This episode in our lives did not stay with us as a form of hatred but taught us that what is really important is to keep love and tolerance in this world.  I look back now and realize what a learning experience that was.