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GRANDMA & GRANDPA
I remember great sleepovers on Warren blvd. the sheets always smelled so good & the birds always sang in the morning. Every Saturday after my piano lesson we would go there to visit & Grandpa & I would eat schmaltz herring. I loved it.
I went to the house on Warren when I was in my early 40's. It was unbelievable how SMALL it really was...yes this was the mansion of childhood memories, but in reality, it was a standard 2 story Greystone house on a 25 x 125 Chicago lot.
Once when grandpa came to visit us in Richmond he snuck out and drove my father's golf car through the streets of Richmond. I can still hear my father yelling at him. Another time he went to the grocery with my mother and bought himself pork chops. He fried them in a pan and came very close to setting our kitchen on fire. Another time my parents woke up in the middle of the night and heard hammering in the living room. Grandpa said he couldn't sleep so he decided to re-upholster our living room couch. Every time they came to visit us grandma would make lunchen noodles for us from scratch. I still have such a vivid image of her in my mind slicing those noodles. They would come in to Clinton on the train with their salami and smoke fish.Grandma only liked the eggs from the farm in Clinton. We had a special egg crate that we would ship to her packed with fresh eggs. She would send the crate back to us empty and then my mother would fill it up and send it right back to her.
The photo of the dining room in the 3114 Warren section shows the "Passover Dishes". I have one or two left. The outer rim was maroon & gold w/complimenting flower in the middle. They were given away free at the White Palace theater on Friday nights. if of course, you bought a ticket to see the movie. This was a big deal in those days as the women would go, save the dishes & use them for passover. Someone , I would imagine, gave Grandma & Grandpa a set that they had saved. My mom, her sisters & lady friends would go on friday nights & I loved it because it was my big night with my dad. We would get in bed & he would tell me how he captured Rapunzel or Sleeping beauty who always shopped at the A.& P. Same story every week but I loved it. Then my mom would come home with a huge hot fudge sundaes for us from Jimmeys, our local Greek ice cream parlor owner who made everything from scratch.
I remember my Mother saying that when Grandpa returned from Israel with "his woman friend" his children were unhappy because they thought she was after his money. Must have been worth about 5,000 at that time!! Anyway, she remembers that he finally sent his friend back home, and then began time with his children, staying at our house for a bit, on West End, around the corner from Esther, Herb, and Gilly. I was busy with young babies, and can't remember very much, either. I regret this.
Grandpa did move around a bit ... he felt he could not be the "man of the house" with us. He thought my mom (Ida) should just leave me and go to Israel with him. i remember visiting him in the hospital when he was sick and he said he was sorry he had all of his children because none of them would be there for him in his old age. He was very bitter about this and moved in to the ymca. One thing he hated was having to restrict his diet. When he lived with his children they tried to cook what he should eat instead of the things he loved. He thought could eat junk & this is what eventually led to his death.
I think Philip also died of a broken heart. Gilly once wrote me, "Butsie is in dispair about Grandpa". I was in Boston at the time, and didn't know he was trying to say, "Grandpa died". I don't think he could bring himself to say it? Her despair must have been so palpable. Could I blame Butsie for feeling guilty? Who wouldn't feel guilty? None of the family could contain such an outsized personality as grandpa...such a life force. He was too big for their family structure and their dietary laws. I always keep that picture of Grandpa strolling down the causeway in Tel Aviv in a place of honor in the bedroom ...it hides the phone! He has a white sport coat, shirt and tie, a newspaper folded into his pocket, there is a breeze, his coat is flapping, a glass case is his breast pocket, he's wearing a beret and sun glasses. And ...the expression on his face - that nose that goes on forever, and the wise Russian smile that says, that says ...what? An Old Jewish Mona Lisa, but also "The Cock Of The Walk". I know the world and I know what I want, you watch me...
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