The Pandemic Pantry

My Great Grandparents were born in Brooklyn. Their parents fled the Tzars pograms in Russia in the 1860’s. I always marveled at how they knew, and what courage it must have taken to pick up a few things you could fit in a suitcase, take your children, and flee your home. Then get on a boat and land in a strange country on the other side of the ocean.

Think about that. What would you take with you? If flood waters are rising, do you go to the roof of your house, or do you seek higher ground? These are the types of decisions you make in a life threatening situation. My Great Great Grandparents HAD TO FLEE, or I wouldn’t be here today. Many waited too long and were murdered. If gangs or an army was marching down your block killing people, what would you do?

I am in a simple situation by comparison. I’m in my sisters home. I drove an hour in my car. I have friends in their 60’s that still have the home they grew up in, some still live in them. I have visited my sisters home from time to time over the past 13 years, but never stayed here more than a few hours.

And an interesting thing is happening. As I move around this strange home, and try to be helpful and not a nuisance, i run across things that are staring at me that make it my home.

I’m sitting in one of the many rooms and find a photo of my mother, that i have no idea where it’s from, smiling at me. I’m sure she’s smiling at my sister too – for bringing me here.

Next to it is a piece i haven’t seen in years. A clay porcupine sculpture mom brought back from her trip to Italy in the 60’s.

Hanging on a wall is a Matisse my dad bought at Sotheby’s during the hurricane of ’66.

The relics from my home made it here. The brass morter on the right is the oldest relic in my family. Perhaps even brought here by my great great grandmother. No one knows how long it was in the family before then.

and even a relic from my dads office. His caricature, done in the 60’s.

The woman in the center bottom is my Great Great Grandmother, I think she wasn’t born here. The woman on the right was Great Aunt May – i’m named after her – apparently she was a pistol. Jews name their kids after people who have died. In case you’re wondering how Daniel and May are related, my jewish name is Moishe. I was called that at my Briss (I don’t remember), I would have been called that at my Bar Mitzvah – which I refused to have, and I will likely be called that one more time before I’m buried, but that’s not my concern. I never met her, but I’ve been told I say things that sound like Auntie May. She died at 60 from bone cancer. The second woman from the left is my Great Grandmother Priscilla. A very kind woman who would not leave the house without her gloves on. I remember Granma Priscilla.

There’s my dads Junior High School photo. He’s second from the left in the back row.

This is a fresco my mom brought back from florence. yes it’s a fresco. it weighs about 150 pounds.

And this is Malcolm. he’s about 20 pounds. He looks like he wants to drive an open wheeled race car. He would have been my mothers and fathers first Great Grandchild.

This home that I have sought refuge in is finding the notion of home deep in my psyche. A new notion, My sisters home IS home.

Categories travel

3 thoughts on “Refugee

  1. That is a nice tribute to your sister and a nice post in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice to have memories of you past, bittersweet as I’m sure some of them are, wishing that we could have a conversation, just one more, with those that have passed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve thought many times that anyone can be a parent to a teenager or twenty something. But I would really value my parents council now that i’m 60. I wish I could talk to them often.

      But I’ve also noticed that I’ve made a family of choice, and in it are people whose council is impressive and mind-expanding. present company included.


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