Since retiring from a career in pharmaceutical research and management, Beatrice Abrams, Ph.D., has exercised the more creative side of her brain. An active creative writing group and poetry writing seminar member, she writes poems as a means of exploring the world and is completing a memoir-based novel on a Jewish family’s experience in Vichy France during World War II. Beatrice participates in volunteer efforts in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, [where she resides,] and sits on the executive board of Jewish Family Service of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties and the board of the Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Raritan Valley Community College. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Potion.
Speck in the Edifice – A Memoire
I was there as history moved across the stage, in the audience squirming in my seat.
Scenes advanced into acts, actors read their lines, and directors waved in ever escalating change.
Sather Gate shuddered and Sproul Hall quailed as smoldering hordes of students gathered in Berkeley to protest the lives they had known. I watched, I listened, I worked.
Maniacal marksmen assassinated hope, crafting a cult of bellicosity. I watched, I listened, I cried.
I heard a quiet voice declare a salacious strike, shoring up our dominos. Sitting at the game table I watched as chips tumbled, bombs fell, monks burned and children cried. Morality battled in streets, on busses, at lunch counters, as humans sacrificed and humanity tried to evolve. I watched, I burned, I balloted.
What was I in this chain of history? I was no clasp, holding the links together but a link itself, holding tightly to myself, entwined with others, lying against a heaving breast - a small piece, not standing apart.
These were times of change, discovery and renewal. Opportunity blossomed for those who could wade through odorous swamps, and I was nearby breathing in the fragrances of the times.
I purified proteins and developed drugs. I peered through opaque windows into the soft and elegant offices of the elite. I etched my way deeply into those restricted spheres, never breaking through the glass. I worked, I fought, I learned, I taught.
Now I sit buffeted by the present, balanced precariously on the pedestal of my past. My being isn’t measured in the world at large, but within the tiny neighborhood of my lifetime. It isn’t found speeding across multilayered interchanges. My being advances modestly on solitary bridges that connect intersecting paths to support and reinforce undulating lives that rush by.
I am a speck in the edifice of existence —my shape coming into focus only in that corner of the life I share with others, building an identity brick by brick, building the world person by person.