in the garden

 

Oct 2005 Journal

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Letter from Israel

Steady rise to obscurity

Being the product of a Zionist youth movement, almost immediately upon graduating from university in England I emigrated to Israel. The country was very different from the world in which I had grown up and all my energies were needed in order to acclimatise to my new life.

As tends to happen, events swept me along. Marriage, work and family occupied my mind and time, and most of my occasional visits to England were devoted to relatives and one or two friends from my schooldays. The one fellow-student with whom I remained in contact married a foreign diplomat, and our friendship waned as his star at the UN rose. Having a friend in Israel was evidently not considered helpful to his career.

But last year the London School of Economics, my alma mater, organised a fortieth anniversary reunion for alumni, ending with a grand dinner at the Houses of Parliament. I was not prepared to miss that, and duly turned up at the event. There were very few people that I recognised or remembered, I¹m sorry to say.

Some fellow-students have become quite prominent in politics, law or business, but most of us have had 'a steady rise to obscurity', as someone put it. Our host at the gala dinner was Frank Dobson, a former health minister and a highly entertaining after-dinner speaker, of whom I have absolutely no recollection.

The few students that I remembered also remembered me, however, and we have kept in touch ever since. On my last visit to London four of us met for lunch, one of them coming down from the north and another travelling in from Sussex. It was delightful to hear about what they had been doing and to discuss any number of topics. It felt as if we had never been out of touch. Now I can only regret all those years.
Dorothea Shefer-Vanson

previous article:Tip of a bigger iceberg (review)
next article:Central Office for Holocaust Claims