Grandma Naomi in the front of the boat
It’s hard to write about a Grandma I can hardly remember. My sisters remember her well, we were 10, 8 and 7 when she passed. But for some reason I have very little memory of her. I do remember her sister, Great Aunt Hannah, I think because the only time she visited from Vermont, she looked at me with her mostly blind eyes and talked to me kind and soft. Grandma was maybe 5 or 6 years when her Mother died. Their family lived in tenement houses in Brooklyn where many Russian Jewish immigrants had settled after making their way cross ocean, through Ellis Island and to America, far from a homeland that had become hostile.
Just after the death of their Mother, her older brother Moses took his life at 17 years of age, and their father Solomon disappeared, leaving she and her two sisters alone. There are different reports about what happened at this point, but best I can tell, she and her sisters were placed in different orphanages. There were wealthy relatives in New York, and from time to time, they helped the girls as well.
This poem is one of Grandma Naomi’s rare heart creations, talking about some precious things she remembers about her mother. We located her mother’s grave in a cemetery for impoverished Hebrew people. Also found her brothers death certificate. There is no trace of their father who disappeared or her oldest sister who died in a mental institution. Grandma Naomi and her sister Hannah, two of the six to survive so much suffering.
A picture of Grandma, the one to the left, and Great Aunt Hannah on the right.
Not sure who the middle girl is.