دوشنبه هفتم دسامبر سال 1942

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 19

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

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دوشنبه هفتم دسامبر سال 1942

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Dearest Kitty,

Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day nearly coincided this year; they were only one day apart. We didn’t make much of a fuss with Hanukkah, merely exchanging a few small gifts and lighting the candles. Since candles are in short supply, we lit them for only ten minutes, but as long as we sing the song, that doesn’t matter. Mr. van Daan made a menorah out of wood, so that was taken care of too.

St. Nicholas Day on Saturday was much more fun. During dinner Bep and Miep were so busy whispering to Father that our curiosity was aroused and we suspected they were up to something. Sure enough, at eight o’clock we all trooped downstairs through the hall in pitch darkness (it gave me the shivers, and I wished I was safely back upstairs!) to the alcove. We could switch on the light, since this room doesn’t have any windows. When that was done, Father opened the big cabinet.

“Oh, how wonderful!” we all cried.

In the corner was a large basket decorated with colorful paper and a mask of Black Peter.

We quickly took the basket upstairs with us. Inside was a little gift for everyone, including an appropriate verse. Since you’re famthar with the kinds of poems peo ple write each other on St. Nicholas Day, I won’t copy them down for you.

I received a Kewpie doll, Father got bookends, and so on. Well anyway, it was a nice idea, and since the eight of us had never celebrated St. Nicholas Day before, this was a good time to begin.

Yours, Anne

PS. We also had presents for everyone downstairs, a few things .left over from the Good Old Days; plus Miep and Bep are always grateful for money. Today we heard that Mr. van Daan’ s ashtray, Mr. Dussel’s picture frame and Father’s bookends were made by none other than Mr. Voskuijl. How anyone can be so clever with his hands is a mystery to me!


Dearest Kitty,

Mr. van Daan used to be in the meat, sausage and spice business. He was hired for his knowledge of spices, and yet, to our great delight, it’s his sausage talents that have come in handy now.

We ordered a large amount of meat (under the counter, of course) that we were planning to preserve in case there were hard times ahead. Mr. van Daan decided to make bratwurst, sausages and mettwurst. I had fun watching him put the meat through the grinder: once, twice, three times. Then he added the remaining ingredi ents to the ground meat and used a long pipe to force the mixture into the casings. We ate the bratwurst with sauerkraut for lunch, but the sausages, which were going to be canned, had to dry first, so we hung them over a pole suspended from the cethng. Everyone who came into the room burst into laughter when they saw the dangling sausages.It was such a comical sight. The kitchen was a shambles. Mr. van Daan, clad in his wife’s apron and looking fatter than ever, was working away at the meat. What with his bloody hands, red face and spotted apron, he looked like a real butcher. Mrs. D. was trying to do everything at once: learning Dutch out of a book, stirring the soup, watching the meat, sighing and moaning about her broken rib. That’s what happens when old (!) ladies do such stupid exercises to get rid of their fat behinds! Dussel had an eye infection and was sitting next to the stove dabbing his eye with camomile tea. Pim, seated in the one ray of sunshine coming through the window, kept having to move his chair this way and that to stay out of the way. His rheumatism must have been bothering him because he was slightly hunched over and was keeping an eye on Mr. van Daan with an agonized expression on his face. He reminded me of those aged invalids you see in the poor-house. Peter was romping around the room with Mouschi, the cat, while Mother, Margot and I were peeling boiled potatoes. When you get right down to it, none of us were doing our work properly, because we were all so busy watching Mr. van Daan.

Dussel has opened his dental practice. Just for fun, I’ll describe the session with his very first patient.

Mother was ironing, and Mrs. van D., the first victim, sat down on a chair in the middle of the room. Dussel, unpacking his case with an air of importance, asked for some eau de cologne, which could be used as a disinfectant, and vaseline, which would have to do for wax. He looked in Mrs. van D.’s mouth and found two teeth that made her wince with pain and utter incoherent cries every time he touched them. After a lengthy examination (lengthy as far as Mrs. van D. was concerned, since it actually took no longer than two minutes), Dussel began to scrape out a cavity. But Mrs. van D. had no intention of letting him. She flailed her arms and legs until Dussel finally let go of his probe and it . . . remained stuck in Mrs. van D.’s tooth. That really did it! Mrs. van D. lashed out wildly in all directions, cried (as much as you can with an instrument like that in your mouth), tried to remove it, but only managed to push it in even farther. Mr. Dussel calmly observed the scene, his hands on his hips, while the rest of the audience roared with laughter. Of course, that was very mean of us. If it’d been me, I’m sure I would have yelled even louder. After a great deal of squirming, kicking, screaming and shouting, Mrs. van D. finally managed to yank the thing out, and Mr. Dussel went on with his work as if nothing had happened. He was so quick that Mrs. van D. didn’t have time to pull any more shenanigans. But then, he had more help than he’s ever had before: no fewer than two assis tants; Mr. van D. and I performed our job well. The whole scene resembled one of those engravings from the Middle Ages entitled” A Quack at Work.” In the meantime, however, the patient was getting restless, since she had to keep an eye on “her” soup and “her” food. One thing is certain: it’ll be a while before Mrs. van D. makes another dental appointment!

Yours, Anne

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