No postings since July...life has a way of getting in the way! But lots to think about during these many months that will surface in future posts. Today's entry is brought to you by Perri, who conducted an interview with my mother for one of her classes this past fall. When I'm old, I hope I remember as many details!
Oh, and happy Valentines Day to all my loves.
My Grandma Garie, 92 years old
Where were you born?
was born in New York City, in the Harlem hospital on December 19, 1919.
What responsibilities did you have as a
teenager to help with the family?
had quite a few. My sisters and I had to be upstairs by 3:30 to 4:00 pm. We
lived on the top floor of a five-story building because my mom did not like the
idea of people walking on our heads.
My sisters and I peeled the potatoes and washed our hands. We rotated each week who would set the
table, take off from the table, and swept the floor. If my parents were not
home yet, I would start my homework. Every week we all changed our linens. We
cleaned the closets every season, and for holidays we polished the silverware.
Describe your family.
father was a tailor, and my mother was a finisher in the garment industry. I
was the oldest child and had two sisters. Helen is l to 2 years younger than
me, and Miriam is 4 to 5 years younger than me. My grandma had 12 children when
she was young. My uncles were married. I had an Aunt Lily who worked for the
Hershey factory, where I helped package.
What kind of educational experiences did you and
your siblings have?
went to high school, college and graduate school. My sisters and I were in
advanced classes. My sisters trained in schools for commercial subjects. When I
went to Hunter College, I did not have to pay for anything except for the
books. I was a science major who then taught science. My sister Miriam went to college when she was older and had
How did you get to school?
went to high school by trolley car. If I spent my trolley money, I had to walk.
I commuted to college by train.
Any favorite teacher or subjects in school?
yes. My gym teacher Ms. Pearl Satlien. She encouraged me to participate in as
many activities as possible. On weekends, she took some of us to concerts,
Broadway shows and dance groups and she paid. I got a very rounded background
in Physical Education. I then majored in science because there was no Phys. Ed.
major. I was also a gym teacher.
and music were my favorite subjects. My favorite science was biology. I loved
singing and choir.
Did an historical event/situation change the
structure within the family?
my grandparents and father died, we celebrated holidays by my grandmas. But
when my grandparents passed away, our family broke off into little groups to
celebrate in different ways.
What was dating/courtship like?
levels were very difficult for me. The boys that I liked didn’t like me back.
On the block I lived on, I liked Marty, but Marty didn’t like me, but his
younger brother Julie liked me, so I liked him back. Seymour Weisberg worked
for the New York Aquarium. It was my favorite date because he took me behind
the scenes to show me what working at the aquarium was like.
Do you remember your first date? Where did
you go? How did you get there?
really. I was a tomboy, so I wasn’t asked out on dates a lot. Instead the boys asked
me to play sports and the girls asked me to play jump rope. The date with
Seymour Weisberg was one of my first dates. We took the train to the aquarium.
What language was spoken in your home?
My mother and father spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want us to know what they
were talking about. But we started to understand some of it.
What type of clothes did you wear when you
father was a tailor so he made us coats or something special to wear. In the
Bronx Junior High School in the 1930s, we wore white middie blouse, a black
tie, black skirt, and black stockings. No other junior high school wore this in
New York City. We didn’t wear shorts to school, so we wore black bloomers under
our skirts. We would also wear the bloomers for gym.
What were some of your favorite toys or
played jump rope, double Dutch rope, and the high lo rope game held by two people.
The game was played by elevating the rope. We played ball games such as
handball. The rhyme one two three O’Leary game was played with a ball. Clapsy
was part of the one two three O’Leary game, where you clapped hands, or stomped
your feet for stampsy clapsy. I played hide and go seek and box ball. We played
potsy games with chalk. There were two variations: piece of folded can top or
piece of class or a rock that was yours to use for the whole game. Potsy was the
thing you threw.
How strict were your parents?
strict because they were both working. After school, we put our books upstairs
and had a glass of milk and cookies and then we could go downstairs and play
the previous games. We had to be back up in the house by 4:30 and wash our
hands and set the table for supper. When I was older, I had to peel so many
potatoes and put them in the water. I had to practice for one hour on the
violin. There were no strict rules because we were doing things all the time
and there was always homework.
Did your family go on any trips every year?
father’s older sister and her family owned a farm in Fitchville, Connecticut. We
would go there for two weeks and stay in Tanta Sadie’s facilities and work on her
farm. We swam in the Connecticut River, hiked, picked wild strawberries, and
watched the cows get milked. My mother and father had a house in Coney Island
for about three years, and we went to school there. I went on the boardwalk and
swam in the ocean. Also we went to Manhattan to visit Bubba on 98th
street and Park Avenue.
How religious was your family?
grandparents were very religious, and my father and mother were religious. We went
to temple for the holidays. Momma lit the candles for shabbas. I didn’t really
have any non-Jewish friends.