This is a crime fiction blog. So here’s a mystery for you: Does anyone know an attractive young woman whose name is Wigoda? She might be my future third wife. That’s my second wife’s prediction, after all.
Like many good mysteries, this one is historical. It’s also linked to the Holocaust.
Perhaps my mind turned to this subject because today is Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, from whence I’m writing. This morning a siren will sound. Everyone will stop what they’re doing and stand in silence, whether driving or working (or, as once happened to me, weeping in a therapy session, when the therapist suddenly ignored my grief and got to her feet). When the siren sounds, I usually think: how the hell did a fellow from South Wales get here?
Of course, it was for love – of my first wife – that I came to Jerusalem. But how do I know my future wife’s name? And why do I wonder about that on such a nominally sad occasion?
The Holocaust museum and memorial in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, constructed a new building a few years ago. The very first display is about a group of Lithuanian Jews who were killed by local Nazis early in the war. Murdered on the street. The display case includes some of their personal effects. The contents of each man’s wallet.
The first man’s identity card shows that his name was Shabtai Pruszan. Pruszan was the name of my first wife’s family before they got to Ellis Island. Not a common name. When I visited the museum the first time, I wondered at this coincidence.
My eyes drifted on to the next victim. His identity card listed him as Shabtai Blachor. More than a coincidence, I thought. That’s the family name of my second wife. Certainly not a common name, nor a common spelling. In fact there are less than a dozen of them in the whole U.S.
I told my wife about this when I got home from the museum. With a note of humor and a hint of suspicion, she asked: “What was the next victim’s name?”
Perhaps unconsciously I had noted that victim number three was named Wigoda. I mentioned this to my wife.
On the ground floor of our building, there’s a family named Wigoda. They have a married daughter. But you never know… She’s quite cute. My wife refers to her as my next wife.
“Wow,” said the present Mrs Rees. “For a guy from Wales, you’ve really entered the Jewish vortex when you’ve been married to the first two names to hit you in the face in Yad Vashem.”
So, gentle readers, I turn to you for a resolution to this mystery. My wife expects me to head down to the ground floor for my third wife. Or perhaps I’ll meet her when the Holocaust Memorial siren brings everyone to their feet today? Surely there’s some attractive Wigoda woman out there who’s prepared to wait it out until somehow I become available?