Child on a swing, illustrative
Child on a swing, illustrativeצילום: ISTOCK

How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,

Till I can see so wide,

Rivers and trees and cattle and all

Over the countryside-

Till I look down on the garden green,

Down on the roof so brown-

Up in the air I go flying again,

Up in the air and down!

(Robert Louis Stevenson)


Again I wander through my parents’ home,

The home of my childhood, where I grew up.

I go there at night, in my dreams.

I go there every night now since my father passed away,

Seven years ago

Again I am in the warm flowery kitchen with my mother,

Sipping coffee at the kitchen table

while I lovingly help her edit her poetry and proverbs.

She tells me how her mother used to look out the kitchen window

at the wall of the adjacent tenement house

In Harlem

But my mother is blessed to look out the kitchen window onto a magnificent green garden, a wide expanse of lawn with beautifully manicured shrubbery and a profusion of colorful flowers. Serenity.

An American flag flutters above the driveway.

It flies there proudly each day of the year.

My parents were so honored to be Americans, felt blessed to be living in the land of freedom and opportunity.

They always would say: ‘Only in America’.

Again I am in the kitchen

with my father having oatmeal in the morning

We sit together in tranquility. He will occasionally remark as to how I make the best tea (I add a touch of milk)
Or how i prepare the best oatmeal (I add a bit of honey and butter and raisins.)

We do not discuss the past, the disappearance of his wife and child.

His escape from a concentration camp.

The years he spent hiding in a cellar with the Nazis dwelling in the building above.

We sit in peaceful silence while he eats morning breakfast of oatmeal and tea. With two slices of honeyed toast.

My mother thoughtfully placed his chair so it would face the garden.

And he could enjoy the serenity and beauty of the lush expanse of lawn, hear the birds cheerfully singing in the morning. Watch the squirrels as they make a flying leap onto the peach tree to enjoy the tasty fruit.

Before the chauffeur takes him to work. At the age of 92.

An American flag graces our driveway, proudly fluttering in the breeze each day of the year.

Not only on Independence Day.

My father was so proud to be in America. The land which was for him a refuge, a haven, an opportunity for the future.

My parents always would say: ‘Only in America’

Again it is Friday night. As in a dream, or perhaps this is a dream, I help my mother set the table. We place on the table the silver challah plate and knife, the embroidered challah covering. Two tall copper candlesticks. The candlesticks that had been in the home of her parents, immigrants from Poland. My father goes to the wine cabinet, to which only he has the key, and reverently pours wine into the silver Kiddush cup.

Soon the family will gather. My sisters, the husbands, the cousins. My children are among the many grandchildren who will cheerfully sing and play with each other at the table, under the table, running around through the dining room door, the living room door, the den door, the kitchen door, and back again. An endless circle. Of life and joy and hope and laughter. And a promise for the future.

It is election morning.

I awake from the dream. Grateful for the blessings of freedom, of life.

For the opportunity to soar on wings of a dream from past to future, from heaven to earth to heaven and back again.

May the future continue to be one of hope and opportunity.

Dr. Devorah Ungar is an American-born scientist and musician.who mved to Israel 30 years ago.