Mrs. H. took care of me after school. It was 1956 and wearing my new I Like Ike button on my red winter coat, I was eager to show it, along with a drawing I made in class. I counted on my good friend to exclaim and immediately hang it on the fridge.
Usually Mrs. H had the door open to greet me, along with mingled aromas of cabbage and pastry. Today, the house looked forlorn - mail crammed in the tin letter holder, welcome mat askew, and a shade tilted partway closed. I knocked and slowly the door opened. Mrs. H cried that Russian tanks were rolling through Budapest to crush her family. Her accented English thickened and she shook her fist at the TV. I did too, because I felt her passion. I loved tales of Hungary and hoped to visit her family someday.
Hugging her, I said, “I have allowance saved. It was for the charity of March of Dimes, but I’ll give it to you to fight the Russians.”
“Oh Sophie, sweetie, it’s not that simple.” She tousled my blonde curls. “Let’s not talk of it now.” She clicked off the big dial and took a lace handkerchief from her large bosom to blow her nose. “You have something to show me?”
I pulled out my drawing. “It was international day and this is for you.”
Mrs. H. burst into tears as she gazed at my picture of the Hungarian flag.