Maureen Rosen at our Lower Manhattan StoryBooth
“Come on up love, we’ve got a nice cup of tea for you.” Those were the first words heard by Maureen after finding herself buried beneath the debris of her family’s fire-bombed home. Air raids occurred nightly, but on this day the family couldn’t make it to the bomb shelter in the living room so they found safety atop a mound of coal under the stairs. This was London in the time of WWII. Maureen’s father was fighting in the British navy while she, her mother, and baby brother were left to defend themselves and hopefully, live to tell. Maureen was little more than a toddler but old enough to know the warning sounds of an incoming bomb. These are her earliest memories – the taste and smell of air raids and coal dust. Naivety oftentimes escapes little girls unlucky enough to get caught in war, but not all realities reveal themselves so terribly. Most of the bombs aimed for her neighborhood missed and in their wake grew wild flowers. Back then Maureen wondered why the Germans dropped flower seeds with their bombs. Not knowing until later that there was a chemical in the explosion that also acted as a fertilizer, growing pretty little things amidst the chaos.