Tragic News From Holland
For anyone who ever read Anne's diary, this must be sad news. I knew the chestnut tree was ill, but the last I had heard it was still considered possible to save it. It was one of the few signs of the outside world she could see from her window, and one that gave her comfort. So another link with the life of a wonderful, talented girl whose life was so tragically, maliciously, and senselessly cut short will be lost.
I was at least pleased to read that there are plans to plant a descendant of this tree. I suppose this is all that can be done, sad as that thought may be. I believe that the webcam will be showing the tree's removal live once the permit has been granted. Personally, I doubt I will be able to bear to watch, although another part of me would like to be witness to its last moments.
When I was young, there was a chestnut tree on my way to school. It was always a wonderful, magical time when the chestnuts, many still wrapped in their prickly green outer casings, would begin to fall. I'd spend as many minutes as I could each morning gathering as many as I could, then I'd admire the beautiful, mahogany coloured nuts inside.
One of my teachers took an exceptional dislike to me, and did all in her power to make my life miserable. The situation became so terrible, the school superintendent even advised my parents on how much time they could legally have me excused from school without (quite) violating the law. While not an ordeal half so bad as Anne's, and certainly one with a much happier ending, a chestnut tree provided its comfort to me during a difficult time as well. Perhaps this is why I'm taking the news so hard.
They say there are no plans to reuse the wood from the felled tree. While I regret the death of the tree, if there is nothing else to be done, it would be nice if some good could come of it. Personally, I would think the would should be auctioned off in an online charity auction. The proceeds, of course, would go to perpetuating the memory of Anne Frank.
I know, if I had enough money I thought I had the slightest hope of winning the bidding, I'd spend every penny I could afford. Imagine being able to have a desk or chair made from the wood of that wonderful tree! Or, if a commercial buyer won the bidding, they could manufacture custom fountain pens with wooden barrels to sell - I'd happily pay an outrageous price for one of those.
I think Anne would have liked the idea, if her beloved tree were to die, of every possible bit of good being derived from it. It would raise money to honour her memory, and to combat the kind of hatred that took her life. It would also preserve some tiny bit of memory, some additional souvenir of her life. I hope my suggestion may reach the right ears in time to do some good.