Me, spilling out all my thoughts, inner and outer, on just about anything! Lots of poetry, short stories from past experiences, anecdotes about teaching elementary school, music, relationships....garage sale type thing...Something For Everyone!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Here's To My Dad! (See Pictures on Post Below!)

When my father traveled to Israel on a Canadian Trade Mission in 1967, he was particularly interested in visiting a Kibbutz. He was quite moved by the sight of the young children in the kindergarten who lived apart from their parents on these communal farms. I remember the slide he had taken of the little pairs of red shoes lined up on the bench in a hallway. He must have reflected upon this image as he wrote this tender story on the flight home.

The Little Red Shoes

Her name was Nurit, just a name chosen at random by the teachers of the Kibbutz. She never knew her father, who was struck down one evening by a truck, swerving suddenly to avoid a donkey cart on the side of the narrow highway leading to Bersheba. Her mother only saw her baby once before she, weak from complications, and with a broken heart, passed on to join her husband in the Garden of Eternity.

Nurit was now four years old, a strange child with deep, dark eyes, which would change as quickly as a flashing light from burning interest to quiet pools of secret longing for something that she would never know; the gentle glance of a mother’s understanding or the soothing comfort of a father’s knee.
This little girl was of course, the teachers’ favourite among the eighteen children. One teacher would usually hold her hand when all the other kindergarten kids would run eagerly off, in their little red shoes, after the supper hour to play and visit for a short time with their parents.

It was then that Nurit’s eyes would become most empty and still, and she would remain for a few moments, silently watching by the door, hugging her rag doll, her thumb always in her mouth at these times. Her eyes would light up briefly when the others would return to talk, as only four-year-olds can do, of their adventures of the evening.
Later, when darkness would come with the suddenness of the eastern night, and the others were sleeping, Nurit would lie awake on her small bed, and looking out the window at the stars, would murmur quietly to herself, "I am visiting with my Mommy and Daddy."
Then she would drift into peaceful sleep, a wistful semblance of a smile tugging at the corners of tiny mouth, while outside on the veranda rack in a neat row, rested eighteen pairs of "little red shoes".

One evening during the visiting period, Nurit became even quieter than usual. One of the teachers had gone to the library and the other was working on some new charcoal drawings for the next day’s classes.
Suddenly, the child slipped without a sound out of the door and ran through the orchard, so fast that she seemed to fly through the darkness between the great rows of olive trees. Emerging on the other side, she still ran, stopping finally, panting beside the edge of a deep "wadi".

It was here, in such a strange place, that she became frightened and whimpered for the first time, as she tried to catch her breath. Looking quickly toward the orchard, she, in the terror of the moment, felt the branches of the trees reaching out to her with crooked arms. She took three steps backwards and dropped quickly over the edge of the "wadi", swollen from a sudden afternoon rain, and was carried away by the rushing torrent of water.
The next day, three kilometres downstream, they found Nurit as the waters lowered, still clutching her little rag doll. When that evening came, her tiny body had already been buried, as is the custom.

Night, and the moon shining down on the veranda of the kindergarten of the Kibbutz by the Gaza, down upon seventeen pairs of "little red shoes". But high above, so the story is told, amid the countless stars of heaven, running straight toward the two brightest stars, which twinkled even more quickly and happily than the others, were two little red shoes.

And below, the children were sleeping peacefully in their beds, but no one was watching the stars from the empty bed by the window.

Doug Williams
Copyright June 1967

You did it again, Dad. I get tears in my eyes every time I read this. There are not many people who would be so moved and compelled to write about such a precious moment. Thanks for sharing with us your great sensitivity to all that you experience in this world.

Mother of Invention, still vividly seeing the teacher lining up those little red shoes in your slide.


Blogger Eatapeach said...

Oy, I'm balling. Please pass the tissues.

You are so lucky to have him.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blogger Teri said...

What a moving story!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Eatapeach: Thanks. It gets my waterworks going every time and I've read it often. Even some kids in a gr. 7 class I taught long ago were in tears too.

Teri: Thanks. It certainly moves me, again and again. I'm glad I inherited some of his senstivity and knack for expression through writing.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Diane said...

How lucky you are to have such a sensitive, feeling man for a dad! And on top of that, someone who can so vividly convey his thoughts and emotions in writing. He is a treasure, as you already know. whenever you speak of him, there is such pride and love spilling out.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Thanks, Diane! Yes, indeed I am lucky...he is a rarity to be sure! He is an excellent writer and really does so from his heart, doesn't he? We are all proud of my dad and love him dearly!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Anonymous Hula Doula said...

Oh wow. That's all I can write. Speechless.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Blogger Vickie said...

Oh my word! I had no idea it was Father's Day back home until I read this post, so thank you! I always miss father's day and mother's day since being in London. Thanks for coming to my blog by the way. I think you're the first teacher to come by if you can believe it! And yes, I am looking forward to all those teachers retiring soon, although I've been hearing that they will for about 10 years now. I'm in London because I'm just too impatient to wait for them to finally leave! ;-)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blogger Robin said...

What a sad story. It's not true,right???...just a story inspired my the red shoes?
I don't know how kibbutz life was back then but in the 80's,another family would have adopted that child.
One of the kibbutz families I was friendly with adopted a child from the city who had been living with his grandmother. No child is ever alone.

This does bring back memories of clothes being lined up and all looking the same,especially with little kids.

Sadly,the kibbutz family that adopted me,lost their dad in a tractor accident when they were very young. I thought it was the saddest thing I had ever heard.

Great story. Have a very happy father's day!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Hula Doula: Somehow that says it all! Thanks!

Vickie: Thanks for visiting and commenting! Yours caught my eye since it was Canadian!! There are not many I come across! And I love Stuart Mclean!
Hey, I'll save my job for ya!

Robin: Thanks! yes, you're right, this is not true....but I think it just sparked his wondering what it would be like for a kid with no parents. And of course, the image of the little shoes lined up on the bench. Hopefully, even back then, someone would adopt these children as you said.

Share a fond memory of your dad tomorrow, perhaps with your daughter, Lillianna.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Anonymous Carolyn said...

Thank you for sharing this story with us.
Your love and enthusiasm for writing is certainly quite alive in your daughter as you can see on her blog site.
Roothie just adores you and she sure lets everyone know it!
Happy Fathers Day!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Hey Carolyn! You figured out how to make a comment when lots couldn't! Thanks so much!


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogger RennyBA said...

How nice of you to honer you're Dad this way. I really enjoyed reading it - thanks for sharing!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Thanks, Renny! He was so surprised and thrilled to see his story and picture on a computer screen! Great of you to add to the comments!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Thanks to everyone who read my dad's story. It meant a lot to my dad to know he reached so many and that you were moved by his thoughts. Great of so many to comment too! That really made his Father's Day very special indeed! Quite a memorable day! He had a tear in his eye as he saw everything here! I've got the greatest dad in the world!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a tragic yet touching story that gives a little solace to the orphan in all of us.

Great idea to honour your dad in this way....

Does the copyright symbol mean the story was published somewhere?

A friend.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Anon Friend! Ha! Ha!

Thanks for commenting. Never thought of it that way but I like it! I guess there is that in all of us perhaps.

It has not been published anywhere that I know of but I think it should be!

Sunday, June 18, 2006


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