That curly hair. Where did it come from?
Our oldest son, Max, started showing signs of curly hair as an infant. My wife Sarah has straight hair, and I have medium-ish wavy hair. But my father, well that dude had some serious curls back in the day.
So we started looking for old photos of my father as an infant. And what we discovered is that there aren’t too many family pictures from the late 1940s and early 1950s. As immigrants from post-war Germany, my father and his parents settled in New York City still shaken by the war but full of hope for a better life ahead.
My paternal grandfather passed away when my father was still a child. The likely cause was complications from his time in concentration camps. Life in NYC was challenging for my father and grandmother, but they made the most of it by working hard and relying on each other – and family – for support.
We eventually found a few pictures of my father as a child. He was perfectly plump with curls that formed a fabulous faux hawk, a trait that would skip a generation only to reappear when Max was born. Seeing my father’s hair on my son’s head was too much. Devastatingly hysterical, and sad, and hopeful all folded together.
As my father often reminds me whenever we are celebrating a joyous occasion, “this was not supposed to be.” What he means is that Hitler had other plans for our family, but we made it. So we owe it to our ancestors and to ourselves to count our blessings and make this life count, l’dor va’dor, from generation to generation.
David Huppert is the Director of Digital Learning at UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina. A native New Yorker, David moved to North Carolina in 2007 and only moved back North once. David lives in Carrboro, NC with his wife Sarah, and two kids Max and Wes. Plus their dog Rodney. Can’t forget about Rodney!