Wednesday, April 05, 2006

One of my daughters wants to know our family history

not in the sense that we carry some genetic defect. She just wants to know where we are coming from. So I thought I would share some of my recollections with you guys and kill two birds with one stone.

My father's father was a yeshiva bocher in Hungary. This is a young guy who studies Torah and has no money, so he stays with a different family every night. A kind of share-the-poverty scheme. Ideally, he will marry a girl with money so he can continue his studies, and so it was with my grandfather.

My grandmother's father had a lumberyard, I believe. Anyway, they married and found themselves in Youngstown, Ohio.

The old man was a sweetheart, always a kind word for everyone, so it stands to reason he would marry a harpy. Grandma was very fussy, particularly about the respect due to her. For instance, if she was in the room one could not refer to her as "she," as in "she wants the peanut butter." You had to refer to her as "mother" or "grandma."

She had four children and then took to her bed. From this outpost she ran the family with an iron hand. The eldest child was a girl, and she was grandma's CEO, while grandma was Chairman of the Board. She stayed in bed for, oh, forty years or so, and one day emerged to find she had a passel of grandchildren. This bucked her up no end and she spent many happy hours traveling from one of her children's households to the next, letting her daughters-in-law know what was what and how to do everything properly.


This grew old so grandma retired to the bed again. Her life was tragically cut short at the age of 82. The family always wondered if she would have lived longer if she had gotten some exercise.

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