From the archives: Just one banana

Photo by Mike Dorner on Unsplash

From time to time, we will visit the Wayback Machine to read stories from The Senior Times archives. This story by Rose Raba Reichman was published in February 1989.

It was the year 1944, when the war still raged through Europe, approaching its climax. In my native country — Czechoslovakia — most food was rationed and long lines of people waiting for the opening of stores was a normal sight.

One day, at the school where I taught, the mother of one of my 6-year-old pupils handed me a small brown bag. “My husband was on business in Switzerland, this is for you.” She smiled and quickly walked away. In front of my pupils, I opened the bag.

“It can’t be,” I murmured to myself, “one big beautiful banana, just for me. This is a miracle — a real banana.”

I must have been very excited and behaved in a strange manner, since I had not seen this kind of delicacy for five years. 

When I looked up, 24 small children were staring at this rare, special gift, since they had never seen a banana before. 

I could not wait any longer. The janitor came with a plate and a knife. The special gift was very carefully peeled and cut into 24 tiny pieces. The 24 little mouths opened and with great expectation, a tiny piece of this unbelievable treat slid onto the tongue of each child.

Deep silence, closed eyes, red cheeks, an expression of great happiness, all this remains with me still.

1 Comment on "From the archives: Just one banana"

  1. Sylvia Wedge | July 26, 2021 at 12:38 pm | Reply

    I, too, remember my first banana after the war. A new experience that I was looking forward to. However, as a child, I was imagining a juicy fruit and tried to hide my disappointment with the reality. Ration books for food and clothing meant nothing was discarded, but people were in better health then with a restricted diet and plenty of exercise by foot or bicycle. How fortunate we are in North America with all the great fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly now in July. Bananas, though, are still not a favourite fruit!

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