سه شنبه دهم آگوست 1943

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 32

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

86 فصل

سه شنبه دهم آگوست 1943

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Dearest Kitty, .

A new idea: during meals I talk more to myself than to the others, which has two advantages. First, they’re glad they don’t have to listen to my continuous chatter, and second, I don’t have to get annoyed by their opinions. I don’t think my opinions are stupid but other people do, so it’s better to keep them to myself. I apply the same tactic when I have to eat something I loathe.

I put the dish in front of me, pretend it’s delicious, avoid looking at it as much as possible, and it’s gone before I’ve had time to realize what it is. When I get up in the morning, another very disagreeable moment, I leap out of bed, think to myself, “You’ll be slipping back under the covers soon,” walk to the window, take down the blackout screen, sniff at the crack until I feel a bit of fresh air, and I’m awake.

I strip the bed as fast as I can so I won’t be tempted to get back in. Do you know what Mother calls this sort of thing? The art of living. Isn’t that a funny expression?

We’ve all been a little confused this past week because our dearly beloved Westertoren bells have been carted off to be melted down for the war, so we have no idea of the exact time, either night or day. I still have hopes that they’ll come up with a substitute, made of tin or copper or some such thing, to remind the neighborhood of the clock.

Everywhere I go, upstairs or down, they all cast admiring glances at my feet, which are adorned by a pair of exceptionally beautiful (for times like these!) shoes. Miep managed to snap them up for 27.50 guilders. Burgundy-colored suede and leather with medium-sized high heels. I feel as if I were on stilts, and look even taller than I already am.

Yesterday was my unlucky day. I pricked my right thumb with the blunt end of a big needle. As a result, Margot had to peel potatoes for me (take the good with the bad), and writing was awkward. Then I bumped into the cupboard door so hard it nearly knocked me over, and was scolded for making such a racket. They wouldn’t let me run water to bathe my forehead, so now I’m walking around with a giant lump over my right eye. To make matters worse, the little toe on my right foot got stuck in the vacuum cleaner. It bled and hurt, but my other ailments were already causing me so much trouble that I let this one slide, which was stupid of me, because now I’m walking around with an infected toe. What with the salve, the gauze and the tape, I can’t get my heavenly new shoe on my foot.

Dussel has put us in danger for the umpteenth time. He actually had Miep bring him a book, an anti-Mussolini tirade, which has been banned. On the way here she was knocked down by an SS motorcycle. She lost her head and shouted “You brutes!” and went on her way. I don’t dare think what would have happened if she’d been taken down to headquarters.

Yours, Anne

A Daily Chore in Our Little Community: Peeling Potatoes!

One person goes to get some newspapers; another, the knives (keeping the best for himself, of course); the third, the potatoes; and the fourth, the water. Mr. Dussel begins. He may not always peel them very well, but he does peel nonstop, glancing left and right to see if everyone is doing it the way he does. No, they’re not!

“Look, Anne, I am taking peeler in my hand like so and going from the top to bottom! Nein, not so . . . but so!”

“I think my way is easier, Mr. Dussel,” I say tentatively.

“But this is best way, Anne. This you can take from me. Of course, it is no matter, you do the way you want.”

We go on peeling. I glance at Dussel out of the corner of my eye. Lost in thought, he shakes his head (over me, no doubt), but says no more. I keep on peeling. Then I look at Father, on the other side of me. To Father, peeling potatoes is not a chore, but precision work. When he reads, he has a deep wrinkle in the back of his head. But when he’s preparing potatoes, beans or vegetables, he seems to be totally absorbed in his task.

He puts on his potato-peeling face, and when it’s set in that particular way, it would be impossible for him to turn out anything less than a perfectly peeled potato. I keep on working. I glance up for a second, but that’s all the time I need. Mrs. van D. is trying to attract Dussel’s attention. She starts by looking in his direction, but Dussel pretends not to notice. She winks, but Dussel goes on peeling. She laughs, but Dussel still doesn’t look up.

Then Mother laughs too, but Dussel pays them no mind. Having failed to achieve her goal, Mrs. van D. is obliged to change tactics. There’s a brief silence. Then she says, “Putti, why don’t you put on an apron? Otherwise, I’ll have to spend all day tomorrow trying to get the spots out of your suit!”

“I’m not getting it dirty.”

Another brief silence. “Putti, why don’t you sit down?’

“I’m fine this way. I like standing up!”


“Putti, look out, du spritzt schon!”.* [*Now you’re splashing!]

“I know, Mommy, but I’m being careful.”

Mrs. van D. casts about for another topic. “Tell me, Putti, why aren’t the British carrying out any bombing raids today?”

“Because the weather’s bad, Kerli!”

“But yesterday it was such nice weather and they weren’t flying then either.” “Let’s drop the subject.”

“Why? Can’t a person talk about that or offer an opinion?’

“Well, why in the world not?”

“Oh, be quiet, Mammichen!”* [*Mommy]

“Mr. Frank always answers his wife.”

Mr. van D. is trying to control himself. This remark always rubs him the wrong way, but Mrs. van D.’s not one to quit: “Oh, there’s never going to be an invasion!”

Mr. van D. turns white, and when she notices it, Mrs. van D. turns red, but she’s not about to be deterred: “The British aren’t doing a thing!” The bomb bursts. “And now shut up, Donnerwetter noch mal!* [*For crying out loud!”] Mother can barely stifle a laugh, and I stare straight ahead.

Scenes like these are repeated almost daily, unless they’ve just had a terrible fight. In that case, neither Mr. nor Mrs. van D. says a word.

It’s time for me to get some more potatoes. I go up to the attic, where Peter is busy picking fleas from the cat.

He looks up, the cat notices it, and whoosh. . . he’s gone. Out the window and into the rain gutter.

Peter swears; I laugh and slip out of the room.

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