Sophie’s Choice

choiceIt was an Oscar-winning performance from Meryl Streep. It also described a life choice made by my great-grandmother.

The movie was released on VHS right about the time of the birth of my first child. It was about the 3rd day home from the hospital with my newborn daughter, and I was rested and feeling pretty good. My husband was looking to rent me a movie, and I suggested Sophie’s Choice, having no idea of its content, but it had great reviews and I had been wanting to see it.

I knew it dealt with a Polish immigrant named Sophie and her new life in Brooklyn . She was a Holocaust survivor. At first, I was certain that the “choice” involved her relationship with 2 very different friends/suitors, portrayed brilliantly by Kevin Kline and Peter MacNicol.

2 menI was so wrong.

When I found out what her choice was really about, I was devastated. Cried incessantly.

I am sure it had a lot to do with post-delivery hormones running amuck; but as I watched my baby girl sleeping beside me, I was truly horrified at the very thought of making that decision. (No Spoilers)


I have a long-standing history with the name Sophie. My paternal great- grandmother, Sofia, made her choice to immigrate from Budapest, Hungary with 2 young children in the early 1900’s. She came with my grandfather and his sister, also named Sofia,  to start a new life in America, leaving her youngest son and husband behind. I wonder how that decision was reached ? Her husband died there a few years later; the son she left behind made his way here eventually.

The other connection is one I witnessed more directly. The neighbor and family friend who took us in when my mother was falling apart was also named Sophie. She served as godmother to my 3 youngest siblings and became a surrogate mother to us all. She saved us from the madness.

A few years back, she sent me a series of black and white photographs that she had taken of us with her own 3 children in the early 1960’s. It was clear that we spent a lot of time in her home. In fact, during this dark history in my family, these were the only pictures that were ever recorded of us; I was so grateful to receive them.




This entry was posted in Art, Childhood, Family, Memories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sophie’s Choice

  1. lbeth1950 says:

    It’s wonderful generous souls are willing to take on children who are needful. I had a kind couple like that in my childhood.

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