By Edie, age 6
Hi! I'm Edie. I am six and a half years old.
Today we are at Grampa Jacob's house. Except it's not a house, it's an apartment. An apartment is like a house, but littler, and in the same building as other apartments. A mansion is in the other direction, it's like a house but bigger and there's sometimes only one in a whole block, and Mama's mother lives in one but we don't go there because Mama's mother is Bad. We live in a house, which is in the middle.
There's a pond in the backyard, except that that hasn't happened yet.
Anyway we are not at the house right now. We are at the apartment, with Grampa Jacob. Grampa Jacob is very old. He writes books and goes traveling to talk to people sometimes, about the Bad Thing that happened when he was young. He says it is important to tell people who are too young to remember about Bad Things so they won't do things like them. He won't tell me or Emily the stories about the Bad Thing, because we are too young. But he lets us see the number on his arm, that the Bad People gave him during the Bad Thing.
I asked Mama once whether that was the kind of Bad her mother was but she looked shock and promised me that no, her mother was just a very selfish person, she wasn't *really really Bad* like the people who hurt Grampa.
Grampa says that there are lots more people in the world who are the same amount of bad as Grandmother but much more active about it than she is. He says he knows a lot about people doing Bad things because he had to learn a lot about it when he was young, and he still has the skills. He says no matter how much he tells people about the Bad Thing, people still do bad things.
I tell Grampa I know all about people doing bad things. I tell him about the bad things people do at school, and he looks sad. He tells me when I grow up I will have to worry about much bigger bad things, but since I am a little girl and Mama is rich I shouldn't have to worry about them yet.
I tell him I am a BIG girl. He laughs and scoops me in his lap and says until I am too big for him to do that I shouldn't worry about any bad things bigger than bullies at school.
Right now I am drawing.
I need a lot of green crayons but I have lots and lots of crayons so I'm okay.
They're Emily's and my crayons but Emily isn't here right now. My new friend is. I don't know her name yet but that's okay.
I'm pressing harder than I need to because I am mad. I'm mad at one of the bullies at school. Grampa says the bullies are only a little bad and MAYBE when I am a grownup there will be much worse bad things but it doesn't FEEL that way.
Grampa nods and says that the thing I have to remember is that most of the kids at school aren't as smart as I am, and don't have parents as good as Papa and Mama. He says that people have reasons for doing things, and if they're doing bad things it probably means they need something and they don't know how to get it.
I ask Grampa what the people who did the Bad Things to him--the Nazis--needed.
Grampa looks sad and says they were hurting, and they thought that blaming the hurt on other people would make them feel better. He says they were wrong, and they were adults and should have known better, and anyway there is no excuse for what they did. I nod. I don't know what they did exactly but I know it was really really really bad. Then he says that the bullies are just children, and that doesn't make what they're doing okay either, but I can stop them much better if I know why they're doing what they're doing and try to teach them better before they're grownups, than if I just hit back. He says hitting people who try to hit the littler kids might teach them not to, but it might just teach them to only do it when people like me aren't looking.
I tell him Mama already explained that hitting is bad and I am much more creative now. He smiles at me and ruffles my hair and tells me that that's good, but his point still stands.
I show him my drawing.
He asks me what it is.
I tell him it's a monster. A really BIG monster. And I don't think hitting would work on it at all.
He nods and tells me that the Nazis were a really big monster too, but they were a monster made of a lot of people, and monsters that are just big and monsters made of a lot of little things are very different.
I ask him if he tried teaching on the Nazis.
He says people tried, but they didn't understand at first that the Nazis were a monster. He says the Nazis were defeated, in the end, by hitting--well, not exactly, but sort of--and sometimes that's what it takes. He says he doesn't know very much about my monster, but he trusts me to be smart and brave and do my very best.
Then he tells me to get the Grandma Box.
The Grandma Box is a pretty wooden box that Grandma owned, with some of her stuff in it. It's got her old recipe books, and some of her jewelry, and a pretty red scarf.
I never met Grandma. She died before I was born. But I'm named after her. And sometimes, Grampa sits with me and Emily and takes stuff out of the box and shows it to us and tells us stories about her.
This time, he takes out the scarf, and ties it around my neck.
He tells me that Grandma was smart, and brave, and she still ran and hid for a very long time, before the Nazis got her. But she survived. They both did. He says that the most important thing, sometimes, is surviving, and even if I can't do anything else I should do that.
And then I wake up.