23
   

Two Sides of the Family--One Building

 
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 11:35 am
@Roberta,
nice Bronx-based blog

http://bronxbohemian.wordpress.com

found this

http://bronxbohemian.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/grand_concourse_at_161st.jpg?w=450&h=337

(Grand Concourse at 161st)



and who knew? waterfalls in the Bronx

toward the bottom of this page

http://bronxbohemian.wordpress.com/2008/07/
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 07:22 pm
I found many (wow there are hundreds really) Bronx blogs by people who are interested in, among other things, the history and life of the Grand Concourse. Found a few of them by googling the names of architects I found in the first couple of blogs.

Horace Ginsbern seems to have been one of the main architects - something like 177 of those Art Deco buildings in the Bronx were his designs.

Found an NYT article by Constance Rosenblum - who wrote the book about the Grand Concourse - another slide show there.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/arts/design/21concourse.html
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Jul, 2010 08:44 pm
@ehBeth,
http://www.nostalgictimewarp.com/bronx.html

lots of pix and family memories here - a tribute page from a daughter to a mother

the Bronx in the 1930's and 1940's - schools, theatres ...
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 06:11 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

http://www.nostalgictimewarp.com/bronx.html

lots of pix and family memories here - a tribute page from a daughter to a mother

the Bronx in the 1930's and 1940's - schools, theatres ...


The first photo here is of my elementary school, yes, the one my grandfather worked on. I didn't recognize it. Maybe I went in another entrance.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 08:23 am
@Roberta,
Quote:
By the time I was born, my mother's sister had married and had gotten an apartment on the ground floor of the same building. She had two sons. My father's brother had also married. He lived around the corner. And my father's nephew married and lived a half-mile away.

I eventually came to think that my grandfather had two wives, one live-in and one down the hall (one grandpa, two grandmas).

I came to learn that my mother, my father, and my father's brother were best friends. I also came to learn that my father was like a big brother to my mother's brother. I also came to learn that my mother's brother and my father's nephew were good pals.

They all lived in this building and formed these relationships long before my parents were married. Their friendship ultimately turned to love.

It took me a looooong time to figure out and understand sides of the family. It also took me a long time to figure out who was related to whom, who was friends with whom, and who didn't like whom.

So when I was born there was an aunt, uncle, and two cousins on the ground floor and an aunt, uncle, one grandfather, and two grandmothers on the second floor.

Was it possible to visit just one person/apartment in this building? Not always.


Any chance of some of your favourite recollections of any of these folk, Roberta?

I'd love to hear them if you'd care to share.
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 02:19 pm
@msolga,
The person who looms largest for me (other than my parents) was my grandfather. How I adored him. In retrospect I believe that he was truly charismatic. He drew people to him. I loved to walk down the Concourse with him. People would come over to greet him. "How are you, Mr. K." "Good to see you Mr. K." I loved holding his rough sandpapery hand.

My mother's side of the family would go "up to the country" together every summer. Up to the country was the Catskill Mountains. The first thing my grandfather would do is find the perfect branch--he would ultimately use it as a staff. Next he carved intricate patterns in that staff. Then he began his daily hikes and wanderings in the mountains. No one ever went with him--even my boy cousins. They all felt that where Grandpa hiked was too wild and the walk to rigorous for kids. I loved to see him emerge from the woods.

Especially one day. My mother was after me. I was gonna get a beating. I ran and I hid. This of course made her even madder. There was only one person on the planet who could save me.

Finally Grandpa emerged from the woods. I ran to him screaming, "Save me, Grandpa. Save me." My mother came charging up. My Grandpa simply said to my mother, "Leave the goil alone." Then he went home to get some of my grandmother's cooking. My mother didn't touch me.

Thanks, Grandpa.





Izzie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 03:04 pm
@Roberta,
Roberta wrote:


My mother's side of the family would go "up to the country" together every summer. Up to the country was the Catskill Mountains. The first thing my grandfather would do is find the perfect branch--he would ultimately use it as a staff. Next he carved intricate patterns in that staff. Then he began his daily hikes and wanderings in the mountains. No one ever went with him--even my boy cousins. They all felt that where Grandpa hiked was too wild and the walk to rigorous for kids. I loved to see him emerge from the woods.



Beautiful memories Boida..

my Grampa's died when I was a wee Iz - I do remember a little about them, but not much. My Godmother (young one - 91 last March) has just written her autobiograhpy - it's been a long time in the making and is now ar the publishers with all her photos - she was the first white nurse in Rhodesia Shocked... many stories to tell.




Loving your sharing your memories. Brings a smile to my face each time. Love it, and you goil. x
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 04:49 pm
There was a rift in the two sides of the family as time went on. Do I know what happened? No. I was a delicate wee goil and protected from all the interesting and bad stuff.

It is for this reason that I never met my grandfather's brother. Never laid eyes on the man. I knew he existed. I heard talk of him. My older boy cousins met him, but not delicate flower moi. Why? He was a mobster. Yes. And he was a bit meshuga. In this family, how'd they notice? Well, the mobster part, yes. That would stand out. But the nutsy part? Not so conspicous.

Remember, this is the same side of the family my mother's sister was on. My beloved aunt. A nutcase. (Every year she took me to Macy's to see the real Santa Claus.) When I was working, I ran into her on the subway a number of times. She was complaining to me about one of her sons. She kept nudging the man (a total stranger) sitting next to her, seeking agreement. Another time on the train I ran into her when she was knitting/crocheting an evening gown. Sixteen bobbins were dangling off the damned thing. It toined out gawgeous. She wore it to her son's wedding. The son she was complaining about.

I learned to be accepting, especially since her husband drove a bakery truck. We always had fresh cookies.

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 06:11 pm
@Roberta,
Tell us about the cookies..
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 06:14 pm
@ossobuco,
You remember we lived in Riverdale one year, 1950. There was a bakery somewhere, 231st St? Fordham Road? I should remember? But I remember these things, they were called hermits. I've had hermits since, but not as good as those. But, they were from a bakery, not an aunt..
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 07:07 pm
@Roberta,
Thanks for obliging, Roberta. I love these stories, I really do!

This grandfather was your mother's father, yes? Have I got that right?
Sounds like you might have his favoured grandchild. And it sounds like he might have been your favourite family member. What did you do to warrant the threatened beating from your mother? Were you often threatetened with such beatings? (I was.) Were you a naughty child, constantly getting yourself into strife? I have a feeling that this might have been the case. Wink What sorts of naughtiness did you get up to when you were little? I'm really interested in the young Roberta.

Quote:
My mother was after me. I was gonna get a beating. I ran and I hid. This of course made her even madder. There was only one person on the planet who could save me.

Finally Grandpa emerged from the woods. I ran to him screaming, "Save me, Grandpa. Save me." My mother came charging up. My Grandpa simply said to my mother, "Leave the goil alone." Then he went home to get some of my grandmother's cooking. My mother didn't touch me.

Thanks, Grandpa.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 07:18 pm
@Roberta,
Quote:
There was a rift in the two sides of the family as time went on.


Ooooh, the plot thickens! Smile

Quote:
....It is for this reason that I never met my grandfather's brother. Never laid eyes on the man. I knew he existed. I heard talk of him. My older boy cousins met him, but not delicate flower moi. Why? He was a mobster. Yes. And he was a bit meshuga. In this family, how'd they notice? Well, the mobster part, yes. ...


And a mobster in the family! A black sheep. You had all the luck, Roberta! Nothing half as interesting in my childhood!

Quote:
Remember, this is the same side of the family my mother's sister was on. My beloved aunt. A nutcase. ....Another time on the train I ran into her when she was knitting/crocheting an evening gown. Sixteen bobbins were dangling off the damned thing. It toined out gawgeous. She wore it to her son's wedding. The son she was complaining about.


And an eccentric aunt, too! Very Happy
More, please, more stories ... more details!

(Have you ever considered writing The Great NY Family Saga? Very Happy )
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  4  
Reply Mon 5 Jul, 2010 09:18 pm
osso, I don't remember much about the cookies. However I do remember one in particular. Pink dough, chocolate dripped on top, with apricot filling. Tres delish.

olga, I wasn't just frequently threatened with beatings. I was the recipient of many. It was rarely for what I did. It was almost always for something I said. Quelle surprise. I had a big mouth. I don't doubt that I was a difficult child. Very smart. Stubborn. Independent-minded. Fresh. And disinclined to listen to my elders if I had something else in mind. However, I don't think that any of this warranted beatings.

My grandfather (yes, my mother's father) was special to me. No question. And I was special to him. Also no question. Keep in mind that I was the only granddaughter for many years. But the person most dear to me was my father.

My grandmother (mother's mother) was a great cook and baker. I don't mean good. I mean great. Every Sunday afternoon, people would show up at my grandparents apartment for what the family came to call "Lizzie's cafeteria." No invitations. No phone calls. No one even had to ring a doorbell. People just opened the door and walked in. Lots of people. Lots of great food.

Despite the great food, after my grandfather died, far fewer people came. So it wasn't just the food. It was the man of the house who attracted all those people.

I loved to help my grandmother in the kitchen--her domain. I helped her make challah (egg bread) and got to make my own little loaf. Never as good as Grandma's. I overkneaded. I helped with the manual meat/fish grinder. Filling for the kreplach (Jewish wantons) and gefulte fish. I loved the smell in that kitchen.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 05:05 am
@Roberta,
(This thread took a bit of finding just now, Roberta. But I've tagged it now, so that should make it easier to keep track of you. I don't know why I haven't received any email updates so far. But anyway ...)

I don't know where to start. I have so many questions & requests for more about quite a number of relatives you've mentioned. I fear I may overwhelm you! Smile

Quote:
...I wasn't just frequently threatened with beatings. I was the recipient of many. It was rarely for what I did. It was almost always for something I said. Quelle surprise. I had a big mouth. I don't doubt that I was a difficult child. Very smart. Stubborn. Independent-minded. Fresh. And disinclined to listen to my elders if I had something else in mind. However, I don't think that any of this warranted beatings.


Ah, so you were a very smart & independent child? Why am I not surprised? Nothing much has changed, I see.

Yes, the beatings. It seemed to be a generational thing, yes? Part of the "honor thy parents" disciplinary approach. Pretty damn scary for little kids, though. I agree. As I mentioned earlier, I copped quite a few, too. "Just wait till your father gets home!"

Quote:
.. the person most dear to me was my father.


I can't recall you talking about your father before, Roberta.
Could you tell us about him?

0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 06:47 am
@Roberta,
Roberta wrote:
Jewish wantons


no wonder people are kissing you on the hand and stuff like that

panzade
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 07:20 am
Great thread! The stuff that keeps me glued to A2k.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 04:23 pm
bethie, How else would you describe a kreplach? I call 'em as I see 'em.

Panzade, I'm glad I'm keeping you glued.

olga, My father. Sigh. Not a special person, except to me. A gentle, loving father. Not a strong man. But a good man.

While my mother's family was middle class and lived in a townhouse in Harlem when my mother and her siblings were growing up, my father's family was very poor. He was the youngest of seven children, and his family lived in a small tenement on the lower east side. A tough neighborhood back then. My father grew up tough. I've never been clear about my father's father. Was he a tailor? Don't know. Was he an alcoholic? I think so. I was named after him. This means that he had to be dead before I was born. Jewish people traditionally do not name people after living people. One of the reasons why you never (or rarely) see a Jewish junior or the II. (I will expound on the meshuginaness of names in my family in another post. Some of the more hilarious legal documents I have ever seen.)

My father dropped out of school in the seventh grade to get a job. He worked as a messenger on Wall Street. He also tried to break into show biz. He and his next oldest brother had a singing vaudeville act. I think they may have made it to the stage, but were not anywhere near successful.

The Stock Market crash put an end to his messenger job. He struggled after that. One job after another. When WWII broke out, he was considered on the outer fringe of eligible. He was kinda old, and he had flat feet. After being called and and rejected several times, they took him. The army pulled out all his teeth and gave him a set of choppers to get him through the war.

While one uncle was stationed at a POW camp in Noo Joisey and another uncle was running flight photography missions in Bermuda, my aging, flat-footed, toothless father was sent overseas. First stop. North Africa. Oy. He bought my mother a gorgeous silver bracelet from there. I still have it. Second stop. Anzio Beach. Double oy.

I could never get him to open up to me about the war. Did people shoot at him? Yes. Did he shoot at people? Yes. Did he see dead people. Yes.

The only thing he would tell me was that he came back to the US across the Atlantic Ocean in a banana boat. A very small vessel for such a large ocean. My father did not get sick. He remembered with a smile flying fish flying into the low boat.

When the war was over, he his brother, his brother-in-law, and his nepew got jobs with the post office. Security! A steady paycheck. He was grateful. One of those blue-collar guys who worked very hard and was glad to. He went to work no matter what. Transit strike? He had a job. He was showing up. No matter what--he was showing up.

He was a wonderful loving father and a pal. He and I explored the city together. Don't know how many times we went to the zoo together or the Museum of Natural History. (I loved those dinosaurs) And the Museum of the City of New York. And the Planetarium. In the spring when it was light out after supper, we'd go out and play. Hit the penny. Stoop ball. He always won. He taught me how to roller skate. How to tie my shoes. How to defend myself in a fight (and how to throw a good right).

When I was older we played indoor games. Cards, Monopoly, checkers. We talked.

When I saw a cousin a few weeks ago, we were talking about our parents. We talked about my father. She told me to hold up my right hand and stick out my pinkie. I did. She said my father was wrapped around that finger. True.

To him I was the kid. Is the kid home? You're a good kid (no higher praise).

The last thing I said to him was, "I love you, Daddy." The last thing he said to me was, "I love you, baby."

ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 04:39 pm
@Roberta,
kreplach - Jewish wonton

http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/Kreplach_ClearSoup.jpg/200px-Kreplach_ClearSoup.jpg




Roberta - Jewish wanton

http://www.animationplayhouse.com/blueeyes.gif

djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 04:40 pm
@ehBeth,
Very Happy
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 04:43 pm
Gosh. I'm tearing up, here.

I love LOVE these stories. We need to get someone to your apartment with a scanner and a good computer!
 

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