Connections? Read and find out. I find it quaintly coincidental that anyone should declare a day celebrating the flower that symbolizes romance and love on the same day that a young Jewish girl in the Netherlands should get the autograph album that would become her famous diary. Or, for that matter, the same day Medgar Evers was killed on the same day in 1963, or that Gregory Peck died in 2003. It’s also the anniversary of the Virginia v Loving decision that legalized interracial marriage in the US in 1963. Just coincidence…I suppose.
Anneliese Marie “Anne” Frank was born in Germany on 12 June 1929, but spent most of her short life in and around Amsterdam. Stateless in 1941 after German Jews were stripped of the citizenship, she and her family hid out in various places in Amsterdam until August 1944, when the family was discovered and they were shipped off to the camps. Anne and her sister died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen sometime between February and March 1945. All but her father died somewhere in the camps.
But between her thirteenth birthday on 20 June 1942 and 1 August 1944–three days before she was captured–Anne made entries in her diary nearly every day. It described everyday life for Jews in Amsterdam, for just over two years. Her first –and only–romance with fellow attic refugee Peter van Pels is described, as is her exploration of her own sexuality (in the 1995 edition)–a series of entries her father left out in earlier editions but that some educrats have take exception to. But she was a teenage girl stuck in an attic with strangers, that included her family. The internal tensions she described with her family and the others that she was enclosed with in that attic. The food they ate–especially how much–and their attitudes towards nearly everything were carefully compiled. After the war, and after the Red Cross had confirmed Anne’s death, Anne’s father, Otto, went back to the attic and found the diary hidden away. Since its publication in 1947 the Diary of Anne Frank has gone through numerous editions under different names, translation into sixty languages, and has withstood accusations of hoax, forgery and worse, but has been authenticated by more than one authority.
A rose, according to WIkipedia, “is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears.” According to Gertrude Stein, “a rose is a rose by any other name:” by Shakespeare’s lights “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” All of that aside for the moment, a rose is a flowering ornamental shrub that thrives nearly everywhere, from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Americas. Most garden roses (and there are over a hundred different varieties) prefer somewhat temperate climates where they can hibernate for a few months between blooming seasons. My dear wife struggles mightily with the roses in her garden every spring, and they seem to respond in kind, thriving from year to year.
But National Red Rose Day? OK, I get the romance part (I never gave a woman a red rose who didn’t appreciate it in some way–and there have only been two), but a national day? Oh, why not? Today’s Peanut Butter Cookie Day too, and Jerky Day…and Loving Day, after the Loving decision.
So a rose for the famous diarist on what would have been her 88th birthday. We wish you might have gotten one from some young admirer at least once in your short life.