Some strangers took away Marion Sacher’s special kite in 1937.
And some strangers — who are becoming new friends — gave her some new ones this week.
Sacher, a resident of the Kittay House independent living seniors apartment building in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, was a teen in 1937, attending a Jewish day school in Berlin, when she went to a nearby park one day with a new kite, constructed of light paper and wood supports, which an old man in her neighborhood had made for her. With the aid of her governess, she flew the kite for a few minutes before three young Nazi thugs grabbed it and tore it up.
Sacher told the story a few weeks ago to a visiting group of fifth-graders from PS 75X in the South Bronx.
Sacher is 90. The students, Hispanics and African-Americans from low-income households, are all 10 or 11 or 12 years old. Moved by Sacher’s story, they all approached their teacher after the Kittay House program and said they wanted to make a new kite for Sacher.
They were “talking non-stop about this,” says Phyllis Murray, the head of the literacy/library program at 75X who coordinated the visits to the seniors’ residence.
In their spare time at school, the students worked on several kites, making and decorating them. And this week they returned to Kittay House to present them to Sacher.
Her lost kite in Berlin was light green, like grass.
Her new ones this week were the same color. Sacher received some larger, store-bought kites, and some smaller ones, produced by the girls with construction paper and tissue paper.
During the two hours at Kittay House, the students read Sacher poems they had written (about colors), serenaded her on the violin (“Dreidel, Dreidel” and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”), and presented her a floral arrangement.
Then they went outside to fly the kites.
“I heard from somebody that the children were making me kites, but I made believe” — before the students showed up Tuesday morning — “that I didn’t know,” Sacher says.
“It’s still a wonderful surprise,” she says.
The students wrote their sentiments about Sacher on their creations. “You rock & are amazing,” wrote Tiffany Diaz. “You always help me think right from wrong + you make my world light,” wrote another student.
Sacher says she will keep her new kites in a special place in her apartment. “I am going to display them on my wall … with my other artwork. That will be a safe spot.”
She doesn’t plan to take them down. “I don’t want to carry them around,” Sacher says, “because I don’t want to ruin them.”