Holocaust Remembrance Day (and Other Funny Cartoons)

I wonder constantly how my children process this world they’ve been born into. I feel very in touch with my own childhood perspective, but my kids are not me. Our oldest, Elora (9), has my penchant for sarcasm and big words, but she’s much more self-assured and creative than I was. She sees everything as an art project.

Here’s her latest (click to enlarge):

To me, a calendar tells me what day it is. To Elora, it’s an opportunity to highlight the things that are most important to her and illustrate her life. April Fool’s Day gets a “ha ha!” Earth Day gets a drawing of the Earth with what looks like little kids around it. And Holocaust Remembrance Day gets…

Wait, what is that? Let’s take a closer look:

Confused, this morning I asked Elora what she had drawn. We’ve talked about Hitler and the Nazis before after watching some Twilight Zone episodes, but I couldn’t remember ever talking to her about the Holocaust. Judging by the thought bubble in the drawing, it looked to me like she’d worked out that April 19th is a day for pondering. What’s more, the sad, downcast face of the girl in the picture seemed to indicate that Elora had some idea that this wasn’t the day for thinking happy thoughts.

But what’s in the thought bubble? To me, it looked like a hole and a person about to jump into it. Elora set me straight.

“It’s a little kid playing kickball.”

“What?” I asked. “Why?”

“Because that’s what we did that day at school when I drew it.”

Basically, she had no clue what the Holocaust was and filled in the blank with the first thing that popped across her mind, effectively making Holocaust Remembrance Day into that day when we reflect sadly upon the tragedy of  lost kickball games.

I explained to her what the Holocaust actually is and, knowing Hitler to be a pretty messed up dude, she accepted it without surprise and got dressed for school.

What strange thought avenues did your childhood filter lead you to? I remember seeing the blinking red light of a jet plane in the night sky on Christmas Eve and being convinced it was Rudolph. Took me years to work through that one. Got one of your own?

 

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10 comments

  1. I thought my parents never got me Christmas presents. Most kids I knew got presents that were from Mom and Dad and presents that were from Santa. I only got presents from Santa. I thought we were either really poor or my parents didn’t love me. But I was taught it wasn’t polite to appear ungracious about presents, so I never said a word. I was so relieved and embarrassed when I realized my parents had actually been giving me gifts all along.

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  2. I have had the same pair of shoes for the past four years-ish, and I discovered only a few months ago that they are actually indoor soccer shoes or something like that (still not entirely sure). Which explains why they were so hard to break in.

    That’s not my childhood, but there are many things I didn’t see straight (or for what they actually were) when I was younger.

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  3. I don’t know if Tyler remembers this, but he was confused by the whole “Santa isn’t real” thing. So your mom told him that it was your dad who played Santa and brought all the presents. Tyler promptly knocked on our door to inform us that his dad was THE SANTA CLAUS! I think your dad had a suit and everything, which didn’t help Tyler’s brain make sense of the situation. We had to tell him that his dad was just HIS Santa Claus. Not the Santa Claus for the whole world. Saddest. Day. Ever.

    Also, I used to think “vicinity” was the name of a city. I was angry when I would open a map of “name of town here” and “vicinity” and I couldn’t find that darn vicinity!!

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    1. I was old enough to never make that mistake, but I’m not surprised to learn that Tyler had a different experience. He was always so gullible that way. (Kidding, Tyler.)

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  4. Perspective… it’s a funny thing.
    (All right, it’s a *peculiar* thing… Aah, crap!)
    I can remember when walking from the house where I grew up to the parochial school I went to (a distance of about six or seven blocks) was a journey into mystery, and I can remember a time when I lived in Baltimore when walking fifteen or twenty miles from where I was staying to a plasmapheresis donation center in a cold, sleety rain was not that bad because I didn’t have the cash for bus fare.
    Strange how perspective changes the reality you perceive, isn’t it?

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