Monday, March 7, 2011
The Man from Estonia
My father also made friends with foreigners: a Dutch man, a Japanese family and a man from Estonia, whose name was Heino. No one else knew anyone with a name like that. One day my father brought his Estonian friend home to visit. We struggled to understand his Estonian accent, and wondered how it came to be that my father brought a man from Estonia to see the boat and eat at our house. No one else's father had a friend from Estonia. No one else knew where Estonia was or why this man wore black turtlenecks all the time. But then we went to his house, and art studio, and his artwork was like nothing we had ever seen before, and we instantly approved. He and my father worked together in New York City, the mother lode of anomalies, so we knew we were flirting with a serious one now. Heino told terrible stories of life in Estonia during World War II, and I worried that those who had once been looking for him in Europe might find him one day at our house. I hoped I wouldn't be home that day, and I hoped they wouldn't arrest my father with him.