Mrs. Shamburger was a recurring character in my childhood. Each time we visited my Oma, Dad would point out the brick house two doors down. There lived a witch: Mrs. Shamburger. On the day of his sister’s funeral, he walked us past her house, spinning elaborate stories. Whatever the circumstance, he kept the magic of childhood alive.
Growing up I believed Billy Joel and the child singer Rafi to be brothers. I proudly bragged that my fish lived to the ripe age of five. As explanation for his sudden and sporadically empty tank, Dad told us he was at the hospital, receiving a blood transfusion. He even brought us there, gifts of fish food in hand. At the rotunda pond we searched the orange blur for our fish. The next day he returned home with bug eyes, “a side effect of the procedure.”
Years later I am standing in the prairie, holding a dying frog. A six-year old has named me his caretaker. The following day, he bounds off the bus. I kneel and explain how his frog fell in love, married, and moved to the river. “We can visit him this Wednesday,” I chime.