past faces


This category contains 7 posts

rybky, 1885/2012

More than any other ancestral hometown, Rybky, Slovakia has always had the strongest pull on my heart. Maybe that’s because it was the first ancestral hometown that I learned about when I was young, or maybe because it seemed to be a place that others were committed to remembering — or perhaps both. My grandfather … Continue reading

hanni, david, me, 1885/2012

Yesterday, I found my great-great-great-grandparents’ grave in a plum orchard in Slovakia.

202 west end avenue, 1903/2012

When I was in New York a few weeks ago, eating some amazingly good gelato on the Upper West Side, I realized we were only blocks away from where my great-grandmother Charlotte grew up at 202 West End Avenue. Her building doesn’t exist anymore – this high rise has taken the place of 202 and … Continue reading

frank and ethel, 1990

Sometime right around when this photo was taken (I think this must have been Thanksgiving or sometime around then), my grandparents gave me an aquamarine ring as a Christmas/Hanukkah present.  They died not that long after and for the last 21 years, I have spent almost every minute wearing that ring. It has become almost … Continue reading

honeymoon in south america, 1919/2011

ethel, becky and frank, 1981

my mother’s parents were taken away from me 17 years ago this past tuesday, and it will never not hurt. ethel kalisch hoffer (1918-1991), me, frank markus hoffer (1909-1991)

I have an obsession with blood, with the invisible past running through my veins and capillaries, pumping through my heart. I want to untwist the skeins of my own DNA, unravel the path that has brought it to me. I want to map my face, draw borders around each region of resemblance. I am driven … Continue reading