Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Lanka Ilkow - October 12, 1991

Reminders (Continued)

Well are there particular times, if you, if you see something or uh, hear something that reminds you of...

I can't go to funerals. I go to funerals because I have to. But I would not look on a dead body, you know.

Because of all the bodies you saw.

Yeah, because uh, uh, Margaret died, a friend of mine and her daughter and grandchildren and great grandchildren all Goyim, so she had no people to the funeral. So I called people, my friends. Do a, a mitsve, come to the funeral. And I got together ten men to the funeral. I, to, to chesed shel emeth. And she was just pulling me, "Lanka come see my mom, how beautiful she is. Come see her." And I say to her, "Irene, I just can't go, leave me alone, I just can't go." So my daughter came and she says uh, she explained it to her why I can't go see. I just couldn't. I wanted to see her, but I was afraid for some reason. I don't know, I'm afraid from dead people. So I, I can't take it. One friend I had which I went to her coffin. And she was very, very Orthodox. Not that she was Orthodox. But when her husband is a plumber, maybe you know, Andy Martin? So he married an American girl, left her. We was very close friends but he--she had diabetes. And he used to bring her to my house in the morning with the three kids. And I cooked--I didn't had lot to cook. I was making potato soup and slishkas kreplach you know, potato dough and latkes, and things like that I cooked to feed, to feed them. He come home in the evening, he was eating. And make my bed for her for the day, laying in my bed. In the evening I make the bed for us. And this was going on for weeks. She was very sick. Then finally they moved to Oak Park, and she was better. And he uh, he was making good money. So she start dressing already, making parties. And they played cards, but in, in big. Well, I was working so I just never could uh, go play cards. And we could not afford to lose uh, fifty dollar or so. They was in dollars, in five dollars playing. The bank was like five hundred dollars sometime. So you could lose five hundred dollars. So we did--we didn't. We stayed away from those people. So she maked a party and she did not invite me, a Hanukah party. And the, the Greenbergers, was there and everybody and they was wondering, she's my best friend, where am I. So they asked me. So I asked her, I say, "How come you maked the party and you didn't invite me?" So she says, "I tell you why and don't be mad. You can't afford to go those places where I am going and I can't be friends with you now, understand?" She was eating in my house and I was making my bed for her, it was okay. And then she hurt me very much. Well--we--my daughter had surgery so she came over. We wasn't speaking and she come over. My daughter, the youngest one had very big surgery in the hip. She didn't have sockets. That's another story what I went through with her. And uh, she come to visit. She brought her gifts and so. But the children didn't like her anymore because they knew what happened. So then long she was very sick, I went to see her. And she says, "I would like now we should go together, travel or so." I said, "All of a sudden I am," you know, I was already in business for myself, so. I say, "No, I don't have time to travel. You just travel with the crowd what you traveling." And uh, all of a sudden she died. And uh, I come to the funeral and I went in to see her. And I said, said like this, "Margaret, everybody will go where you go now. But you sure went too soon." She was forty-four years old. You went too soon. So, I say "God took you. He loved you and he took you too soon." Because she told me I can go places where she goes. So I told her that, "Everybody will go where you're going now, but you went too soon. You chose to go too soon." So I just can't stand dead people you know, uh. Um, whenever I go to a funeral sometime it's very uh, emotional, cry. So I just walk out 'cause I can't take it.

Do you...

[interruption in interview]

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