Serendipity leads to Martin-Springer Institute

Poznan bikers1 croppedWhat do a Holocaust memoir, a group of Harley Davidson riders from Poland and good Thai food have in common? Blessed by serendipity, I found all of them unexpectedly this past weekend in Flagstaff Arizona.

Kiss Every Step book coverAn Unexpected Memoir in the back of an Art Gallery
My husband and I spent this past weekend in Flagstaff for a rare treat of time together. Saturday morning we strolled downtown Flagstaff waiting for the Oktoberfest to open. I wandered into an art gallery drawn by the unique blown glass. There in the back, totally out of place was a small table with a single book for sale. The harsh black cover with a yellow Star of David stood in stark contrast to the color and beauty for sale around it. Intrigued, I glanced through it and noticed the author was from Poland. I asked the owner why he was selling the book and he said simply “My wife knows the author; she lives here in Flagstaff.” I bought a copy.

katrina hiking October 2015 FlagA Pole Walks into a Restaurant . . . . .
After a day of beautiful weather and good hiking we met good friends for dinner at a local Thai restaurant. Seated at the table right next to the door, we’d been there five minutes when three men dressed in full Harley gear squeezed into the tiny restaurant, their backs to us. There in black leather directly in front of me all I see is the word Poland. What are the odds? Of course I had to introduce myself. They were part of a group of 21 or so bikers from Poznan traveling the U.S. We had a great talk, and more diners came over to meet them.

Author Doris Martin and her husband Ralph S. Martin Founded the Institute in 2000
I began reading “Kiss Every Step” Saturday and finished during the drive home to Phoenix on Sunday. In the very last paragraph, on the very last page it mentions that Doris (born Dora Szpringer in Bendzin Poland) and her husband Ralph Martin founded the Martin-Springer Institute at NAU, for “Global Engagement through Holocaust Awareness.”  Hand slap to forehead. The Institute was a participant in the same Genocide Awareness Week in April 2015 that I participated in thanks to John Liffiton of SCC. There’d been a well-done traveling exhibit on the Jews of Bendzin – Doris’ home town.

I don’t know why that art gallery drew my interest any more than Polish bikers from Poznan chose to eat at the same tiny Thai restaurant, at the same time I was there. I do know I found a lucky penny on the way to the restaurant, and twenty-two more the next morning (the memoir is exactly 222 pages long.) Coincidence?

Martin-Springer Institute at NAU

2015 Genocide Awareness Week as SCC

And for Polish speakers – the web site for Poznan HOG (Harley Owners Group) – one of six HOGs in Poland.

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Tags: Holocaust, World War II - Europe

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