THE STORY OF THE SQUARE

Kindertransport Memory Quilt Square

Quilt 1, Square 11

Artist: Rosemarie Gumpel

I am one of Nicky Winton’s children. My two sisters and I arrived in England from Prague in June 1939. We were adopted by a wonderful lady called Miss Harder. Unfortunately however, she died within one year of our arrival. From that time on, life became quite a struggle for me, the youngest of the Gumpel girls. My childhood was cut short. There were too many trials to recount and there was much sadness.  Being basically an optimistic, cheerful and determined person, I survived and struggled to make something of myself.

Many years later I received a scholarship to London University and became a teacher in Neasden, Middlesex, a suburb of London.  I taught 5 years in London and then emigrated to the United States.  During my 35 years at the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York City, I continued with my education and received a B. Sc. from Columbia University and later an M.A. in Art.  My career at Horace Mann afforded me many happy hours of teaching and interacting with hundreds of young people.  It was a very happy time for me.

Three years ago I decided to retire. I enjoy my retirement tremendously. It gives me the freedom to pursue many creative activities, such as oil painting, knitting, writing, designing my own greeting cards and visiting museums, theaters, going to the ballet and concerts and visiting other places of interest.  Additionally, I am attending silversmithing classes at the Westchester Community College which is part of New York University.  Seeing friends for lunch and dinner also keeps me busy.

Once a week I do voluntary work at Wave Hill. The latter is a beautiful 28-acre estate in Riverdale, New York City.  It overlooks the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades.  The view is breathtaking.  During spring, summer and fall, the gardens look lovely.  Wave Hill offers many cultural activities throughout the year.  I lead an active and interesting life and am happy and content.

My memorial square is almost self-explanatory.  The Shalom Tree is the symbol of life.  It is a plant that grows upward and outward.  It embraces many creatures and gives life and shelter to many living things. It can also be enjoyed for its beauty.  A tree can be placed for children to enjoy and have fun.  The children in the design are free to grow and make choices.  Please note that I have included a brown and Oriental child to symbolize that all children have the right to grow and develop with happiness and contentment for they are the future.

 

Rosemarie Gumpel
March 22,1996

 

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