Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Of Hope And Trees...

They're cutting down Anne Frank's tree.

The one she looked at while in hiding in Holland. The one she looked at nearly every day she was there, imagining what it would be like to be outside, under it's spreading branches, walking free.
Of course there's a compelling reason. The tree, a one-hundred and fifty year old chestnut, is slowly dying, rotting from a fatal, incurable fungus. It is very large, and is potentially dangerous; it could fall on persons or property at anytime. So I can see why it has to come down, but it makes it none the less sad.
Anne believed as long as her tree lived, so would she. And in a metaphorical way, that has been true. Anne's words and thoughts continue to live, louder many say, than any other of those voices silenced by the Shoah. I must confess, when I first read her diary, that time in history was not on my mind so much as that she was a kid like me; wanting to play, to have fun, to dream; getting her period, fighting with her mother, putting pictures of movie stars above her bed. I sympathized with her greatly when the dentist moved in---who would want to share a room with some old man--gross! (I'm channeling my inner thirteen year old here). I would've spent much of that time up in that attic, drawing that tree, yearning to get away.
Anne's tree puts me in mind of some other "literary" trees that kept their characters going; Francie's tree from "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn", or even the the little bit of "foliage" in O. Henry's "The Last Leaf", that kept a young girl from dying. But Anne's tree is real---Anne was real. For me, that makes the death of the tree just a little more heartbreaking.
Reports are that saplings have been taken from the original tree, and will be planted in it's place. Perhaps that is some comfort.


silvio soprani said...


While I too feel the poignancy of the loss of this tree and all it evokes, I do also reflect that it is pretty amazing that the diary of a 13-year old girl has gotten so much mileage over the years. When you think of all the frivolous 13 year olds who have achieved fame in recent years (Britney Spears comes to mind), it is really wonderful that Anne Frank's honest expression affected so many of us.

Perhaps it is a generational thing--do high school students still read that book?

Nonetheless, her words are what matter. I had forgotten about her tree, to tell the truth (although i do remember all her comments about getting her period, which I found somewhat shocking at the time! )

It is good to remember good people, so thanks for the good words.

little gator said...


There's a link to more info, including a webcan of the tree.

Maggie Jochild said...

Shado, thank you so much for passing on this news, and the photo, and the words. I'm glad to know in advance. Bless us all, for whatever time we have here.

silvio soprani said...

Speaking of time and how much we have left, I just discovered last night the wonderful Masterpiece Theater series, THE AMAZING MRS. PRITCHARD (yes, where have I been?) and discovered it was the LAST episode. Pfifl!

What an amazing show.

little gator said...

it's schedules for Nov. 21.

silvio soprani said...

little gator,

Perhaps in your area it is still running, but it is only 5 parts, and all five of them have been broadcast here in Baltimore.
I will check the listings; perhaps they are going to repeat the 5 shows.
It ends up in the air; just like life, I suppose!

shadocat said...

hey gator, thanks for that address---really cool website!

Maggie Jochild said...

Yeah, Silvio, there's been a few of us (Feminista, you there?) who've been hooked on The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard since its onset and dropping an occasional comment over at DTWOF. I DO hope you get to see the whole shebang, it lives up to the sobriquet "amazing".

And for those of us who saw the last episode: What will Ros do? Resign or divorce?

kat said...

ack! A spoiler note would have been appreciated! I got behind on it....

The good news is that Amazon has the dvd's. Netflix is supposed to get them at some point, but my queue says "very long wait" so I don't know how long it will take...

Maggie Jochild said...

Kat, honey, sorry for revealing too much. But -- it's as much as I saw in the previews beforehand, I think. The glory is all in the telling.

And -- re Anne Frank's tree, news story this morning: "The chestnut tree that Anne Frank could see as she hid from the Nazis is still strong and safe and should not be axed, conservationists opposed to plans to cut it down said on Monday."

kat said...

oh, okay....so long as it was only previews level spoilers!

Even if the tree dies, couldn't it remain standind? Like that iconic tree that Ansel Adams photographed in Yosemite? It's all propped up with wires and rods and things. Or am I woefully ignorant of tree death?

kat said...

And Silvio, I don't know about high school students, but I read it in middle school.
Does anyone know if Frank's diary is on the curriculum anywhere? Cuz I read if for a book report, and I think it was from a list of recommended books, or something, but we never studies it as a class.

silvio soprani said...

You are right. I believe I read it in 7th or 8th grade. And that would have been around 1964-ish. The reason it was so big then was because the movie (with Ed Wynn as the dentist--that's the only actor I remember) had come out in 1959.

You know, I was such a reader and so were all my friends that I can never remember if a book was "taught" in school or whether it just made the rounds in our friends' circle.

And I think they should keep the tree standing, even if they do have to prop it up. It is historic.

kat said...

jee-zus.....Please forgive my inability to type in my other comments!!

little gator said...

It's not safe to leave large dead trees, or even some large live but sick trees, standing.

My big oak was dead inside and I only learned that when it fell on my roof.

silvio soprani said...

Back in the Spring, our Mayor made sapling trees available to anyone in the City who showed up to take two each, in an effort to improve our tree canopy to fight air pollution.

I came home with a spindly little red maple (with green leaves, but I accepted on faith, in April, that it truly was a red maple.

This week I looked in the back yard, and sure enough, all its leaves are brilliant red! I feel quite rich.

shadocat said...

Sorry folks, I've been away for 24 hours because...


Molly Alice McInness was born this morning @6:35 a.m. by C-section.
weighing in at 9 lbs., 1 oz. and (get this!) 27 INCHES LONG! (a future WNBA prospect perhaps?) Mom and baby are doing well. Dad and grandma, however, could use some rest.

On behalf of my grandaughter, I wish everyone a Very Happy Molly Day!

kat said...

Congrats, Shado!
That's great. 27 inches? Was she in the 99th or 100th percentile?
WNBA, or volleyball? Aren't volleyball players really tall, too?

Luckily, all those predictions about how tall kids will be aren't that accurate. When they did the "double your height when you're 2 and that will be how tall you are" test, they predicted I'd be well over 6 feet. It's a good thing that I stopped at 5'7'', cuz it's already hard enough to find pants that are long enough!

Anyway, congratulations to everyone, and have lots of fun pampering your new being!

little gator said...

I heard it was 3-that is, a three year old is half their adult height.

Dor dogs it's supposed to be 4 months. Dog height is measured at the withers like with horses. And small breeds reach their full height much sooner than huge one. I don't know if that rule is for averager size dogs or includes extremes.

I do hope that baby was folded up in there.

Maggie Jochild said...

I'm coming here, instead of one of our past Opera Threads, because we're currently gathered here to share this tidbit from a New York Times article about Turkey Adoption:

"They are not the neatest of birds," said Marcia Lane, 75, a former television actress who adopted her first turkey in 2004. She currently keeps three in a fenced-in piece of pasture behind her home in Columbus, Miss.

In the beginning, Ms. Lane’s turkeys seemed friendly enough. She named them for characters from 'The Mikado.' She would even sing Gilbert and Sullivan tunes to them. But turkeys, like some children, can be fickle.

"All of the sudden one, for no reason, they will turn on you and decide they don’t like you anymore and peck you," she said. "I had one that would just fly at you, and I would have to carry a rake to protect myself."

I'm wondering if it was the Gilbert and Sullivan influence on them -- theories, anyone?

Happy genocidal invasion of another continent day to ya'll. And HAPPY GRANDBABY to you, Shado!!

shadocat said...

Ooops---I screwed up a bit---baby Molly Alice is 9.8 lbs and 22 1/2 inches long, whis is still pretty long for a baby. I'll post pictures as soon as I can. And thank you kat and Maggie!

little gator said...

what a relief. that 27 inhes scared me, especially since she was not execptionally large by weight.

kat said...

Hm....Maggie, My response would be that Gilbert and Sullivan shows are evil and that they therefore poisoned the turkeys' brains.....but I realize that a lot of folks here like G&S, so I'll just keep that one to myself.


My slaughtering-an-innocent-bird-and-subjugating-the-natives day went really well. I spent it with my dad's family (but not my dad, since he was dealing with his wife's family's drama). I hadn't seen them in ages, even though they're in SF and I'm in Berkeley. My grandad is 94, so I had felt especially guilty for not having seen him for so long.

My cousin and I spent some time looking at old family photos, many of which I had never seen. It was really emotional to see where I come from. And to ponder how a pair of African immigrants ended up in the middle of nowhere in rural England in the early 1900's....We don't know.