Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bubbe needed her own blog

My mother's mother, known to one and all as bubbe, was quite a woman. She came to a foreign country (this one) virtually penniless and with a sick husband, raised three children and buried two. To make ends meet, she borrowed $10 from a neighbor and started a grocery store in the family living room; she also tutored boys for bar mitzvah. Her family often went hungry despite her best efforts. My mother and her two brothers were very small and had bow legs, thanks to rickets. But all three grew up to be respectable citizens and became professionals.

Her family gave her the kind of respect Queen Elizabeth would love to have from hers. I don't think any of her children neglected to stop in at least once a day. They revered her.

She wasn't an easy woman. She had a razor-sharp tongue and didn't mind using it. Better than that, she had a ready wit and was never at a loss for words. Her remarks, in brilliant and untranslatable Yiddish, would take the paint off an old barn.

By the time I got acquainted with her, her struggles were mostly behind her. My grandfather's motto was peace at any price, so he mostly went along with anything she wanted. There was an occasional skirmish with an in-law, but that was hardly enough to keep her occupied. She was virtually sidelined. Sure, she presided at family feasts and felt free to offer her opinion or advice to anyone, but that was hardly a full-time job. What bubbe needed was a blog.

For thirty years after her death, people I hardly knew would come up to me and say, "Your grandmother was really something! I remember when she said..." Unfortunately, no-one wrote down her exact words, so they are lost to history. I am lucky enough to have a blog, and I am not nearly so clever as she and certainly not as lightning quick.

How she would have loved to have a forum! Unfortunately, she was born 75 years too soon.


That Broad said...

Great Story!

airforcewife said...

Often when you talk about your bubbe, I get a "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" kind of feel.

It's very interesting to read.