I interviewed you years ago when I was a student in Counseling Psychology at UBC (1983). It was a pleasure to sit with you and learn about your work (I was in my mid-twenties at the time-- I'm not sure if you would remember me-- Dr. Horvath suggested that I talk to you). I always remembered your intelligence, incisive wit and the encouragement that you shared that day.
I thought of you today because a friend's husband just died, and she had emailed a photo to me. I wondered if she might be interested in your site, so I sent her the link that I found through www.google.com
It was inspiring to read about your victory over the people in Italy who had plagiarized your book. I also recognized your face immediately, even after more than twenty years-- you look, to me, very much like you did twenty years ago!
It meant a great deal to me that you spent that time with me. I actually did a lot of personal counseling after that (out in the Fraser Valley, where I lived at the time). Lots of changes!
Something else that I learned since then is that I am partly Jewish (on my mother's side). I know that sharing that fact out of the blue might seem a little off the wall, but somehow I think you will appreciate it (I actually thought of this again when going through photographs on your website).
For many years of my life I used to read about and look at photographs of the Holocaust. The sadness I felt was indescribable. Yes, I did go through some rough things personally in my life, and I'm sure that tied into my reactions to the photos. However, when I later learned about my own partly Jewish heritage, the way that I had felt finally made sense to me.
So I wonder if, over the years, you have found that there are times when people have intense responses to photographs, and then later find out that there was something more behind it.
If you ever see Dr. H., please tell him that I said hello. He might remember me as the student who cried in his counseling class one day when he was talking about the S.S.
What he was saying at the time seemed to hit me out of nowhere, and it felt impossible to listen dispassionately to the stories he shared.
He told the group to take a break, and we walked down the hall together and talked about it. I found him to be a a wonderful and compassionate human being. And I deeply appreciated that he didn't say, "Gee, this must be related to something else."
It was what it was. I had a Jewish heritage of which I was not consciously aware, and I believe that something in my spirit felt the unspeakable sadness of this part of my history.
I am now living in Los Angeles, attending a church that has an annual "Night to Honour Israel", which is attended by prominent Jewish leaders. My Jewish friends who live nearby were delighted to learn about my heritage (one of them, a salesman, animatedly told me, "I knew it! I KNEW it! You're always selling something!").
I had to laugh over that one. My mom owned businesses (fabric stores, et cetera) and dealt almost exclusively with Jewish wholesalers. She had a mind for business and a sharp eye for a bargain, to the point that my sister-in-law once said, "Roses are reddish, violets are blueish; I always do business with Momma, who's Jewish."
Little did she know, and it was a high compliment. My mother was as intrigued and excited as I was to learn about her heritage.
Thanks for listening to these "stream of consciousness" thoughts. I'm sure that you hear a lot of these when doing therapy with photographs!
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