If she had lived, Anne Frank would have turned 84 years old on June 12. The image of her youthful face is locked in our minds, and it is hard to imagine her as an old woman. She entered the hiding place as this preteen and she told us about growing up. She shared with us what her life was like for those two years. She wrote in her diary without filters and gave her opinions and secrets and she had no clue that someday, the world would read her words.

So many people have written about Anne Frank and millions have visited the museum in Amsterdam, we all know how famous she and her diary are. I was thinking about her as an old woman and what she would have been like. What kind of woman would she have been? What if she had not died so young? What if she had survived the war?

She missed out on high school, where teenagers discover many things, including boys and girls. Anne was certainly curious about dating, sexuality and boys. These years would most likely have led to lots of social events and possibly, a boyfriend.

I would have hoped that Anne would have gone to University, as she seemed quite bright and curious about the world. If she had a chance to further her education, I think she would have. If that would have given her the chance to meet new people and travel, all the better. But what would Anne want to be? A common job for women at this time would have been teaching, and I could see her doing that. But what if she had wanted to something completely different?

Would Anne have fallen in love and gotten married? Would she have had children and been a good mother? Did she like the company of children? Can we imagine Anne watching her children grow up, without fearing war, and see them marry and have their own children? If that is the case, then Anne most likely would have been a grandmother. But Anne wrote her in diary that she could not imagine being a housewife and not having a career.

Is it possible that Anne could have been a writer? Could she have had a teacher who encouraged her to not give up and to share her stories. Anne could have been a novelist or a journalist, she may never had married or had children, but was a happy woman facing her last years.

The point is that we just don’t know, because Anne was robbed of her life. Her future was taken from her and so we shall never know what would have happened to her. Every dream she had was destroyed. She never saw another Hollywood film, she never met new people, she never played with girls her own age, she never walked by the canals of Amsterdam again, and she never rode her bicycle by the bakery again. Once she entered the attic, her life completely changed. And when she was taken to camp, her life eventually ended.

We now know that many people were in hiding during the war, Anne and her family and neighbors were not the only ones. We will never know all the horrendous stories about the war. But we know about Anne because she wrote in her diary. She had plenty of time to write and I am sure she found comfort in being able to write her feelings down. She became the voice of the war, she became a great teacher without even knowing it. Through the diary, she taught us about being a young girl facing a cruel and horrible world. And she taught us to not give up on the human race.

She died way too young. This week, we see her as she was, but it does make us wonder about who she could have become. Anne Frank would be 84 years old! Just think of that. And think of all the people who lost their lives in the war and what they might have accomplished in life. But for now, I can only focus on one young girl who had a fabulous future ahead of her and before she left this world, she left us one of the best teaching tools this world has ever known. I guess we can say that Anne actually did become a world famous writer…just like she dreamed of.

Her parents gave her a blank diary for her birthday in 1942 and in July they moved to the annex. For a little over two years they were in hiding and that diary became her confidant and friend.

Happy birthday, Anne.
Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929 and died in March, 1945.

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  • Gloria Dilendik  On June 11, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    A beautiful story filled with thoughts, questions, and an honor to her birth, her short life, and the gift she imparted on to us. Anne Frank was a hero to me, and idol. I loved that book growing up, it was one of childhood favorites. Anne shared her birthday with my youngest sister Maria,what an honor to share your day with such an inspiring and amazing role model. I struggled with containing myself as I read this inspiring story, Thank You so much Jane Dutton! You are amazing! Please Read this story and be inspired!

  • Terri D'Orsaneo  On June 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    This blog is so very thought-filled and thoughtful! I have to admit that it never would have occurred to me to think about what Anne might have been like as an adult, let alone turning 84. We did lose her much too soon, but how blessed are we to have her legacy!!

  • Leslie  On June 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    The consequences of war, greed, and hateful behavior, are immoral. The vulnerable, the people without the ability to remove themselves from the conflict,(money, power, skin color, race, religion, connections) are the pawns who take on the greatest hardship. We don’t know what Anne Frank might have become. She contributed so much in her short life. Thanks Jane for this thoughtful essay.

  • Hairy  On October 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    I love you Anne

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