It was a dark and stormy night, in the Midwest as I sat on my bed, reading my new book.

The thunder crashed, following a flash of lightning. I had pulled the shades, but it did little to block the light or noise.

I was alone and would be until morning, except for my innocent children, safely asleep in the adjoining room.

I have never gotten used to being alone at night, having grown up in a large and noisome family.

There had always been people around at night; if not in the same room and same bed, then in an adjoining room.

Mostly boys, of course, but they had a way of making you feel safe.

But now I was alone and it was dark and I was ploughing, halfway, through “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

Poor Anne, My heart wrenched for her!

She and her family and a couple of others, hidden away in those rooms over the shop where friends of her parents and other, worked during the day.

Any sound, during working hours, could mean the concentration camp.

Anne’s father had become aware of the Nazi movement in Germany and had moved his family and business to Amsterdam.

Eventually, it became too dangerous even there. So, with the help of a friend, he built a hiding place over the business. There, Anne and her family and a couple of others hid for two years.

It was very hard, having to be absolutely quiet all day, until you were certain that the last worker had left the building.

It would have been hard even for the adults, but can you imagine a teenager, with all those raging hormones, having to totally ignore her urges and desires?

No matter how much she may have wanted to dance, to sing, to scream perhaps; she must stay absolutely quiet and still. What could she do, poor Anne?

And so it was, and so they did, somehow, for two years.

Anne had a red-checked diary that someone had given her, and she used that as a form of escape.

She wrote in it, quietly, secretly, when really what she may have wanted was to dance, to sing, to scream!

But she did it, and so did they all. For two years they kept so silent that Hitler’s men had no idea that anything was amiss.

Then someone figured it out and told the Gestapo where they were, and Hitler’s henchmen came with their guns and took them away.

What an incredibly sad day that must have been.

I don’t know exactly what happened to Anne’s diary. I think she left it behind, intentionally. Hoping perhaps that someone would find it, and they did.

One of the ladies who worked in the building where they were hiding found it and , somehow, it survived. It has been reprinted many times since then.

I don’t really know how I come to know about Anne Frank, but as a child I remember that I was familiar with the name, probably from my brothers or perhaps my older sister. My mother had explained, simply, in child’s terms, who she was.

But I never thought too much about her until I read this book, her diary, written in her own words.

I am a sneezer. I sneeze in multiples. Usually six times in a row! One big sneeze after another! I try to contain it, but it is useless!

And when I sneeze my big loud sneezes, I always wonder: What if she had to sneeze? what would she do, poor Anne?

Loretta Nazelrod Brown is a Cumberland freelance writer. Her column appears in the Times-News on alternate Sundays.

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