23
   

Two Sides of the Family--One Building

 
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 05:38 pm
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

Roberta wrote:
Jewish wantons


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




Embarrassed Embarrassed

Yes, I'm a professional editor and proofreader.

So it took me three or four looks to figure out what you're winking about. Oy. Wontons. WONtons.

Shame on me.

Although wanton does have its appeal.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 05:46 pm
I'll give ya a short name weirdness now. The longer more involved story later.

My grandmother (mother's side) was extremely superstitious. I mean extremely. When my cousin (mother's side, sister, second son, groundfloor rear) was born, he was a sickly baby.

My grandmother was convinced that someone had put a curse on him. Convinced, I tell ya. She went to the neighborhood witch. (Did I just say, "neighborhood witch"? Yes, I did.) The witch concurred that my cousin was cursed. My grandmother had to do a number of things to remove the curse. I'm not sure what. I wasn't born yet. But I'm sure some of it involved spitting. It always did with her. And the final thing that had to be done was give my cousin a name that would ensure his long life. So my cousin's middle name is Alte. Old in English. I don't know if it's on his birth certificate. But I tease him about it anyway.

msolga
 
  3  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 06:05 pm
@Roberta,
Quote:

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."


Roberta, you just made me cry.
Wonderful memories & thoughts about your father.
Thank you.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 06:11 pm
@Roberta,
Oh!!!
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 06:12 pm
@littlek,
Yes!
Photographs would be wonderful, k.
I'd love to see Roberta's father, her grandfather, her eccentric aunt (in that dress), her mother, family shots during the summer holidays, the mobster uncle (though photos of family black sheep can be pretty few & far between, I know) & so many others ...

This is wonderful, Roberta. Smile
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 07:09 pm
@Diane,
Diane wrote:
Get Thomas to figure out a way to scan your pics. He might be able to do it on his own computer, that is if you trust him to take good care of your photos. You know that he doesn't like you very much (Hah) but out of the goodness of his heart, he might make the sacrifice.

Goodness? Heart? Must be a New Mexican thing. Never heard of it.

Fascinating stories, though!
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Jul, 2010 10:32 pm
@Thomas,
I know you've got a heart, kiddo. You're alive and kicking. As for the goodness. I've seen occasional evidence of that. So don't be such a tough guy. You ain't kidding anybody. Well, maybe somebody, but not me.

0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  4  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 03:04 pm
Hey all you noodges. You should have pictures by the end of next week if all goes well.
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 03:21 pm
@Roberta,
Oh, wow! I can't wait.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 04:59 pm
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

Yes!
Photographs would be wonderful, k.
I'd love to see Roberta's father, her grandfather, her eccentric aunt (in that dress), her mother, family shots during the summer holidays, the mobster uncle (though photos of family black sheep can be pretty few & far between, I know) & so many others ...

This is wonderful, Roberta. Smile


Olga, You'll see pictures of my father and grandfather. Not sure about the aunt and the gown. I'll have to see if I have one. I've never laid eyes on my mobster great uncle. If I had a picture of him, I wouldn't know it. But I don't think I have one.

Pondering the strange name thing. It might be too complicated. I'll come up with something else. There are a number of family references on the Hebonics thread.




msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Jul, 2010 09:32 pm
@Roberta,
Wonderful.
Faces to names.
I'm really looking forward to this, Roberta!
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:34 am
@Roberta,
The neighborhood witch! Wow!

Really enjoying these stories. Your dad makes a lot of sense, in terms of how his kid turned out.

edit: Pictures coming! Fantastic.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  6  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 05:02 pm
Thinking a lot about the olden days.

The neighborhood I grew up in and the elementary school I attended were almost 100 percent Jewish. I think I was around 8 or 9 before I met someone who wasn't.

There are three basic kinds of Jewish--orthodox, consertative, and reform. My grandparents were conservative. They kept kosher. They went to temple. I remember visiting my grandparents in temple. Men on one side. Women on the other. I visited my grandpa. People complained that a girl shouldn't be there. He told them to mind their own business. I remember my grandmother saying the Friday night sabbath prayers. At one point she would put her hands up to her face and appear to be weeping. I asked her about that. She told me that that was for all the misery the Jewish people experienced. Never forgot that image.

Thinking about this, I'm hard pressed to figure out how someone can be kosher in a modern New York apartment with small kitchens. You need a minimum of four sets of dishes and four sets of silverware. Thud.

This was a closeknit community with a strong sense of us against them. Mainly, it was everybody against us. Family members couldn't get jobs because they were Jewish. I remember passing places in cars and my parents or someone in the car would tell me, "That place is restricted." What's that? No Jews allowed. I clearly remember passing a townhouse in Manhattan with a wooden figure outside. It was thumbing its nose. There was a sign that said something nasty about Jews.

I saw more people than I care to think of with numbers tattooed on their arms. The first time I noticed this, I was with my grandfather and his best friend. I asked what the numbers were on his friend's arm. I wasn't given a full or direct answer, but I was told that they meant something terrible.

When people asked me why my family came to his country, I used to say, they were fleeing. Pogroms. The tsar's army. Other bad stuff in Europe. My ancestors were excellent flee-ers.

The homogeneity of the group was a good thing, I think. The sense of togetherness, good. The sense of being victims and hated. Not so good. The reversal of that hatred--downright bad. Members of my family didn't like (this reached hate) almost everybody who wasn't Jewish. As I got older, I started asking questions. "Why do you hate them?" "Because they hate us!"

I had a firsthand view of that hate toward us when my aunt (the one knitting the evening gown on the subway) bought a summer house in Noo Joisey. After the second season, the house was trashed. Swastikas on the front door. Windows broken. They tried to make it through the summer. They eventually sold the house.

Oy, I'm getting upset. Despite this, I had a different life experience. I learned. I formed my own opinions. Add to this the fact that I was not prevented from getting a job because of my religion. Not prevented from joining a club or entering a building because of my religion. I had long talks with my parents. I made some progress.

Feeling a combination of nostalgic and sad.


msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 05:26 pm
@Roberta,
Quote:
Thinking a lot about the olden days. ... Feeling a combination of nostalgic and sad.


Continuing to find your childhood recollections fascinating, Roberta .. & feeling the sadness along with you.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 06:44 pm
As far as I know, I have met only one person with a number tattooed on their wrist. There are so few of those people still around. I ache for their stories to be recorded. I think (I hope) that many of them have been. I have inexplicably strong feelings about the Jewish story.
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 06:55 pm
I haven't said anything until now, but I wanted you to know how much I'm enjoying this thread, Roberta. The worlds we knew as children (mine was oh-so-different from yours) are gone but, thankfully, not yet forgotten. I look forward to seeing the faces of your family. Thank you so much for sharing these memories with us.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:05 pm
@littlek,
littlek wrote:
As far as I know, I have met only one person with a number tattooed on their wrist. There are so few of those people still around. I ache for their stories to be recorded. I think (I hope) that many of them have been. I have inexplicably strong feelings about the Jewish story.

There's a huge body of oral history of the Holocaust back in Germany. But you'd have to learn some German to understand it. (If that seems like too much effort to you, remember that Hermann Hesse sounds much better in the original, too.)
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 07:32 pm
@Thomas,
That's good. Now for translations.....

The person I have met is the mother of a friend. She is almost closer to those who were with her in camp than with much of her own family. They're spread across the US and see each other at least yearly (if I remember right).
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  4  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 09:28 pm
Bear in mind that I was in an all Jewish neighborhood right after WWII.

When I got older a friend's father had a number. Her mother? She and her sister were hidden in someone's house for the duration of the war. Never got stories from either of them.

Remembering more ooky anti-semitic stuff. Changing the subject.

Had dinner with a younger cousin tonight. She lived about ten blocks away from THE BUILDING. We were discussing her grandmother, my grandmother's baby sister. She was a very cold, rigid woman. I suggested that if she were still alive, we wouldn't have problems with global warming. She'd cool off the whole planet. My cousin said that after she visited her family, as her grandmother walked out the door, they would all stand at attention and salute.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 01:57 am
@Roberta,
Quote:
Had dinner with a younger cousin tonight. She lived about ten blocks away from THE BUILDING. We were discussing her grandmother, my grandmother's baby sister. She was a very cold, rigid woman. I suggested that if she were still alive, we wouldn't have problems with global warming. She'd cool off the whole planet. ....


Smile

0 Replies
 
 

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