A Valentine’s Day Tale

A Valentine’s Day Tale – A Time We Must Never Forget by Daniel Hanning


Daniel Hanning of The Other Shoe

Daniel Hanning of The Other Shoe


            Welcome back My Dear Readers to The Other Shoe. Today, Friday February 14th, 2014 is Valentine’s Day for most people here in America. However, today holds a different provenance, for yours truly.  When I was a very young boy, I would guess I was six or seven. My paternal Grandfather was visiting our home, Cecil Hanning.  


He did not visit us, since we had moved from Foster street, closer to downtown Houston. Therefore, when he visited I was always wanting to spend the most time with him. Grandfather Hanning.. was very sad , on this Valentine’s Day. I could see it in his eyes, I felt it in him when I hugged. There was a great sadness in him, and… being the diligent young grandson… I wanted to help lift his sadness. That act, of a very young Danny would… forever change Valentine’s day… for me.


I apologize, that if upon reading, that my retelling to this tale… might color your Valentine’s Day. For many, that grew up with me… back in Houston and later in Pearland do not know of this day. Today, you learn more about me… my family… my upbringing… my family’s past. While living on Foster street, in Houston, my Grandfather would take me into the basement of our home and tell me… of the Jewish heritage our family… mostly ignored.


My paternal grandfather was separated from my paternal grandmother. Drink, and the making of and distribution of alcohol, was the impetuous for their separation. My grandfather still drank, but not today. Today, he took me into the backyard and we sat under a great cottonwood tree, in the corner of the backyard. I was six… it was February, so this would have been 1964. Our President Kennedy had been lost to the world, just months before.


It was on February 14th, 1964 that my paternal grandfather told me of another time. A time past, but one he feared might well return. That return is why at such a young age or six years old, my grandfather sat me under our cottonwood tree and explained to me… ‘The Final Solution’[1].


  MY father was a late convert to the Jewish faith. However, do not mistake is conversion later in life for a lack of understanding of his new faith. He left his Catholic childhood, and upbringing, to join in marriage with the woman is his dreams, my paternal grandmother. She was Jewish, born and raised in an area referred to as The Black Forest in northern Germany. They met on the streets of New York City, both in their early twenties and both newly minted American Immigrants. So much, my paternal grandfather, loved his soon to be wife, he embraced her religion and converted to Judaism.


On that Valentine’s Day I spent several hours in my backyard listening intently to my grandfather tell a tale of Nationalism and angry division. He explained how a wounded Germany sought to heal it’s wounds by engaging in a state of “Super Nationalism”. Then, how the Brown Shirts and later many elements of the Nationalized party sought to make the Jewish people a scapegoat for all their hard feelings. How this nationalist fervor was quickly transformed into angry dividing prejudge. How quickly that translated into the greatest slaughter of a people in modern times.


Remember, the time was early 1964. America was divided, itself, on the issue of equality for African America’s right of the vote. He would sit at home, alone, and watch as these people were set upon by dogs. Had fire hoses turned upon them, and even hanged in public gatherings. He did not focus of the brutality of the great Holocaust he sought to draw lines. Lines between a national frame of mind and the corresponding, following, grave actions.


You see, My Dear Readers, Valentine’s Day could not pass without him thinking of his “Jewish bride” (his words) without thinking of the great anger, and the dividing power of prejudice that brought his people to the very edge of extinction. He drew parallels between how America ignored Germany’s enslavement, then extinction of the Jewish people for years and years. Then he drew lines, again, between America’s intentional ignorance of wrongdoing, to that he saw… again, today. (1964)


The shank of the day was gone, and I remember seeing an urgency in his face, and his words, towards the end. MY father would soon be home from work, and he would not be allowed to spend time alone with me, once my father arrived. I never understood why, but my father did not like me spending time alone with my paternal grandfather. On this day, I remember wishing time would slow, just for my grandfather to have time… time to tell me what was weighing on his so.


The next thirty minutes will never leave me; they are engrained into my very soul. He warned me, with remembrances of his childhood and as a young man at the time of ‘The Final Solution’. How America stood silent, while millions of his people were firs enslaved, then marched into gas chambers. He spoke like every work mattered more than the last. He spoke with an urgency, yet reverence that I have never heard again. What did he warn me of?


 Cecil, on that Valentine’s Day cautioned me. To watch for a nation, gripped in greed and drowning in reoccurring flows of nationalism. He did not say “it might happen again some day”. No, his words of warning were much more… precise, much more severe. On that fateful Valentine’s Day my paternal grandfather charged me with a task. A task that will follow me through out my life. The task of watching for a time when our nation is both gripped in greed and avarice. A time when, either due invasion or war, is gripped with waves of nationalism.


Cecil, on that day, told me that it would happen again. That mankind is a creature destined to repeat his greatest sins, time and again. That I should watch for a time, when greed and avarice are seen as desirable attributes. Following, or at the same time, as a nation drowning in flows of nationalism A pride in our country not earned by act or inclusiveness of all citizens. No, a nationalism born out of division. That when, not if, I see these two occurrences… To guard my words.


It was at this time that my father came into the backyard, home from work. He took me up, into his arms, and brought my grandfather and me into the house. We had dinner, later that night, and then my father drove his father home. Later, my father, he would ask me what we were talking about. I told him just stories about his time with his wife, my grandmother. I did not want to worry my father. You see, it was not his charge that was given on that fateful Valentine’s Day. The charge. Was mine.


As always I am deeply honored that you come here and read my work.


Thank YOU!


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The Other Shoe's Daniel Hanning

The Other Shoe’s Daniel Hanning



About Daniel Hanning
I am a; writer, editor and publisher. I write, most often, articles about our space program, fun videos andpolitical works. My most recent additions are; A Week In Review, Sunday Funnies and The Adventures of Nadia. Along with The Mars Report and Lost in Space. ENJOY!

One Response to A Valentine’s Day Tale

  1. Pingback: A Week in Review – February 15th, 2014 | The Other Shoe

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