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SESSION 1 - WINTER 2021

WEEK 1: PROMPT # 1 

What did you read under the covers with a flashlight?  “Good night” I told my parents and then snuck away under the blankets to keep reading.  Remember “murder” mysteries or sporting events on the radios?

Stories Submitted

In Grade School


I have many stories of things that happened when I was young—for some reason these are stand out moments, while I have forgotten so much from later in life. My earliest recollection was kindergarten, and my Mom walking me the six blocks to elementary school. Shortly after she left me at the door, I panicked and left the school –and walked home alone—at five years old. Suffice it to say she was surprised to see me. In grade school I remember walking home for lunch every day to cream of mushroom soup. It is one of those lovely memories of a warm welcome from my Mom and a hot lunch. And I still love the taste of that tinny soup! I had a wonderful teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Sindler was kind, patient, encouraging and the smartest man on the planet. For some reason he must’ve sensed that I needed extra TLC because he was so caring. He’s the only teacher that has stood out in all my years of schooling. Lastly, here’s a memory that nightmares are made of—it was recess, 4th grade, and one of the boys tied me to a tree in the play field. Unfortunately I was tied around the neck with my own scarf and could not free myself. The school bell rang and all the kids went inside—except for me–tied to a tree. I laugh/cry when I remember that. A teacher came out with a scissors and freed me.




The Big Sneak - Ellyn


I was the original obedient child. I was a very “good girl” and almost always did what was
expected of me. It was very important for me to please my parents. But when I was in 10 th
grade, I dabbled in living dangerously. One time, after Mrs. Kane dropped off our carpool at
Hebrew High School in Cedarhurst, Long Island, Ben Kane and I decided to cut class. Ben was cute, and the idea of being on our own for two hours seemed deliciously risky. So when his Mom’s car pulled away, we walked slowly toward the temple, and then headed off to the town. Cedarhurst was a busy town with lots of boutiques, ladies’ accessory stores, shoe stores, bakeries and coffee shops. Honestly, I don’t think we even went into a store. We just wandered around, walking up and down the streets. About an hour into our escape from Hebrew school, I heard a car horn honk. “ Hi Ellyn, what are you doing here?” It was my mother’s good friend Ruth Shapiro, driving right next to us in her 1964 Cadillac. Busted, I thought. I couldn’t come up with a single good explanation for why I was wandering the streets with Ben. I think I just lamely replied, “Oh hi, Mrs. Shapiro,” and walked on. I prayed she would not tell my parents. We kept on walking, a little bored, if truth be told. We were happy enough to see Mrs. Kane when she came to pick us up at 6 o’clock.
When I got a little older, I understood that sometimes, it’s the idea of getting away with a crime that is the reward- not the actual crime itself. There’s an old expression that says, “Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.” So true. Just tell a kid that they can’t, and they’ll do summersaults trying to prove “oh yes I can! ”




In Grade School - Rabbi Paula


In grade school, I walked back and forth four times every day to school, tagging
after my big brother Eric. We came home every day for lunch and walked back for
the afternoon to our cozy neighborhood Chapman School. Eric was loosely
responsible for my safe delivery in both directions, but I am sure he tried to ditch
me along the way as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. It’s amazing to
consider how much times have changed when I recall those walks to school, three
quarters of a mile along Brighton Avenue (the busiest street on my side of town)
from the time I was five. No parents walked with us and no one worried at all. To
think of parents sending a five-year-old out the backdoor to walk to school is
beyond imagination today!
I have several clear memories of those walks. Across from the school was The
Corner Store. I am sure it had a name, but we all called it just what it was. We
would often stop on the way home to spend our nickels on candy and I recall
having a mad crush on a crossing guard named Chris. I spent my money on Necco
Wafers or Mars bars for him until my brother told my parents about the
purchases. I also remember creating a scene one morning for arriving very late. My first-
grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, met Eric and me in the large front hall of the school.
She stood taller than the doorways in my memory and asked in a very stern voice
where we had been. I do not remember if Eric and I simply dawdled or if there
was a reason for our late arrival, but as a rule-abiding, adult-pleasing child, I know
that I was devastated by her concern. When I remember that morning, I can feel
the fear and tightness in my little chest. How I wish that I could ask Eric if he
remembers. He always had a much better memory for detail than me. I’ll have to
make it up for both of us.




IN GRADE SCHOOL / “MOM, THE TEACHER HATES ME” - Joe


Welcome to Public School 36 in St Albans, Queens County, New York City and to the 7 th grade history honors class. The neighborhood was white and lower middle class, which was being upgraded after World War II. The classroom was the incubator. Meet some of the characters: Student 1---Jay Opal, the #1 student, a true renaissance intellectual and a great guy, the son of a Jewish businessman Student 2---Michael Goldman, #2 in the class, a photographic memory and an equally great guy. He was also Jewish and
his dad was a dentist. Student 3---Me! I had been #1 until Jay and Michael joined the class a year ago. If this trio wore NY Yankees uniforms, Jay was Babe Ruth, Michael was Lou Gehrig, and I was Tony Lazzarri (nobody
remembers him). The teacher---Mrs. Liptrot (no first name)—white, Christian, and middle aged—and most important, an excellent teacher of American History. That week we were studying the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She detested him. I revered him. She described FDR as the enemy of everything that had made America great in the past. She did it with drama and persuasion. She did not persuade me. She concluded, “What is the class’ opinion of President Roosevelt?” My hand was up immediately. She called on Jay first and Michael next; they celebrated her presentation in glowing terms. They lied convincingly and the three of us knew it. But Mrs. Liptrot was so happy---not for long. I spoke and refuted all her talking points. I was very funny to an audience of only me. My last sentence still lives in my mind. “So, how come
FDR is President of the United States of America and you’re just another elementary school teacher?” The next day at noon, my mother and I were in the principal’s office. Miss Carlin played the judge and Mrs. Liptrot was the prosecutor. The only missing piece was the electric chair. The two women laid out the charges and I was guilty. Ida Katz stood up and directed me to stand also. She sternly admonished me (i.e. crucified). I was a disgrace to my family
and to all immigrants who came to America to become citizens. She apologized for me. She would punish me and help me to become a respectful student. I mumbled I would. Miss Carlin and Mrs. Liptrop thanked mom and we left the
office. We got to the street and Ida Katz spoke to me. In Yiddish. She was mad. I never saw her that angry. “Did you learn anything?” I nodded, “Yes.” “Now it’s up to you! Yossel, I love you. BE A MENSCH.” She said, “Enough for a day. You and I are going to the cleaning store so I can explain this to your father.” She then said, “My parents warned me, ‘DON’T MARRY A GALITZIANER’ (for my Italian friends, think SICILIAN)” “Motel, so this is what happened:
1- Yossel is not being thrown out of school.
2-You are not having your citizenship revoked or being deported.
3-I fixed everything
4-Let’s have lunch”





WEEK 1: PROMPT # 2 

There were the things we couldn’t touch.  Old photos of people we didn’t know or couldn’t recognize, like your parents’ parents, your own grandparents, when they were young.  Perhaps there were trinkets, keepsakes, or perfumes.  Close your eyes and remember what you saw.

Stories Submitted

MY BROTHER AND ME-Andrea


Bobby is four years younger than me. He had bright red hair and so people always noticed him.
Looking back on our relationship I guess we got along like most young brothers and sisters, good
days and bad. Skinny me was always an issue for my mother. She and Bobby would meet me
after school with a banana.
One day, as Bobby and I ran ahead of Mommy he grabbed my banana and ate it. My mother
started screaming at him and said that she would tell daddy and he would be in real trouble.
Bobby started to cry and run away. He was about four years old. I guess mommy thought that he
would be in front of our apartment crying. He was not. She started calling his name and looking
for him. Soon everybody in the apartment house was searching and calling and crying. After a
while the police were called. They yelled louder and said maybe he was lost, got hurt or even
worse. It seemed like forever ‘til he was found by the police, hiding under the stairs leading to
the third floor of our building. My mother was surely relieved but he refused to come home
thinking the police would get him. He slept at a neighbor’s that night..
I remember how scared I was that he was lost and how relieved I was that he was found. It made
me realize how much I cared about him.
From then on I ate my own banana.




My Favorite Thing to do with my Best Friend - Ruth


Doing our homework together in each other’s homes was our all time favorite. Rae and I took the
same subjects and enjoyed our time together. We even wrote a Spanish play based on Arthur
Godfrey’s radio program called “Arturo Godfreyo y Sus Amigos.” Our Spanish class enjoyed it.
Our Latin translations were often difficult, but between the two of us, we managed to get the
work done.
Outside of school, I loved to do hairdos. Rae’s hair was very straight, and Toni Home
Permanents had just come out. So I asked her if she would like me to give her a permanent. She
was up for it. It was messy and “smelly,” but we got through the process. I did it for her a few
times, but the first time was a disaster. It was too curly and very frizzy. She was good about it.
After the first one, I improved, and Rae liked it so much she asked her mother if she would like
one. She had one long braid that went all the way down her back. She was willing to have me cut
off the braid and give her a permanent. She looked so different and really liked it.
If we did not do our homework together, we would talk on the phone for a VERY LONG TIME!
My married sister, who happened to be visiting one day said, “You just got off the bus and now
you’re on the phone??!!!”
Rae and I were more like sisters than friends. We never had an argument and are still friends 74
years later!





WEEK 2: PROMPT # 3 

A first car is a milestone.  Maybe you got it to commute to school or to get a new job. Perhaps your dad got a new car and you were allowed to drive his old Junker. What freedoms did a car afford you? What did it feel like the first time you were behind its wheel?

Stories Submitted

MY BROTHER AND ME-Andrea


Bobby is four years younger than me. He had bright red hair and so people always noticed him.
Looking back on our relationship I guess we got along like most young brothers and sisters, good
days and bad. Skinny me was always an issue for my mother. She and Bobby would meet me
after school with a banana.
One day, as Bobby and I ran ahead of Mommy he grabbed my banana and ate it. My mother
started screaming at him and said that she would tell daddy and he would be in real trouble.
Bobby started to cry and run away. He was about four years old. I guess mommy thought that he
would be in front of our apartment crying. He was not. She started calling his name and looking
for him. Soon everybody in the apartment house was searching and calling and crying. After a
while the police were called. They yelled louder and said maybe he was lost, got hurt or even
worse. It seemed like forever ‘til he was found by the police, hiding under the stairs leading to
the third floor of our building. My mother was surely relieved but he refused to come home
thinking the police would get him. He slept at a neighbor’s that night..
I remember how scared I was that he was lost and how relieved I was that he was found. It made
me realize how much I cared about him.
From then on I ate my own banana.




My Favorite Thing to do with my Best Friend - Ruth


Doing our homework together in each other’s homes was our all time favorite. Rae and I took the
same subjects and enjoyed our time together. We even wrote a Spanish play based on Arthur
Godfrey’s radio program called “Arturo Godfreyo y Sus Amigos.” Our Spanish class enjoyed it.
Our Latin translations were often difficult, but between the two of us, we managed to get the
work done.
Outside of school, I loved to do hairdos. Rae’s hair was very straight, and Toni Home
Permanents had just come out. So I asked her if she would like me to give her a permanent. She
was up for it. It was messy and “smelly,” but we got through the process. I did it for her a few
times, but the first time was a disaster. It was too curly and very frizzy. She was good about it.
After the first one, I improved, and Rae liked it so much she asked her mother if she would like
one. She had one long braid that went all the way down her back. She was willing to have me cut
off the braid and give her a permanent. She looked so different and really liked it.
If we did not do our homework together, we would talk on the phone for a VERY LONG TIME!
My married sister, who happened to be visiting one day said, “You just got off the bus and now
you’re on the phone??!!!”
Rae and I were more like sisters than friends. We never had an argument and are still friends 74
years later!





WEEK 2: PROMPT # 4 

There was a particular teacher who you were positive hated you.  Remember how big the 5th graders were when you were a first grader? Your favorite subjects and the ones you liked the least, the girls or boys you loved to tease.

Stories Submitted

In Grade School


I have many stories of things that happened when I was young—for some reason these are stand out moments, while I have forgotten so much from later in life. My earliest recollection was kindergarten, and my Mom walking me the six blocks to elementary school. Shortly after she left me at the door, I panicked and left the school –and walked home alone—at five years old. Suffice it to say she was surprised to see me. In grade school I remember walking home for lunch every day to cream of mushroom soup. It is one of those lovely memories of a warm welcome from my Mom and a hot lunch. And I still love the taste of that tinny soup! I had a wonderful teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Sindler was kind, patient, encouraging and the smartest man on the planet. For some reason he must’ve sensed that I needed extra TLC because he was so caring. He’s the only teacher that has stood out in all my years of schooling. Lastly, here’s a memory that nightmares are made of—it was recess, 4th grade, and one of the boys tied me to a tree in the play field. Unfortunately I was tied around the neck with my own scarf and could not free myself. The school bell rang and all the kids went inside—except for me–tied to a tree. I laugh/cry when I remember that. A teacher came out with a scissors and freed me.




The Big Sneak - Ellyn


I was the original obedient child. I was a very “good girl” and almost always did what was
expected of me. It was very important for me to please my parents. But when I was in 10 th
grade, I dabbled in living dangerously. One time, after Mrs. Kane dropped off our carpool at
Hebrew High School in Cedarhurst, Long Island, Ben Kane and I decided to cut class. Ben was cute, and the idea of being on our own for two hours seemed deliciously risky. So when his Mom’s car pulled away, we walked slowly toward the temple, and then headed off to the town. Cedarhurst was a busy town with lots of boutiques, ladies’ accessory stores, shoe stores, bakeries and coffee shops. Honestly, I don’t think we even went into a store. We just wandered around, walking up and down the streets. About an hour into our escape from Hebrew school, I heard a car horn honk. “ Hi Ellyn, what are you doing here?” It was my mother’s good friend Ruth Shapiro, driving right next to us in her 1964 Cadillac. Busted, I thought. I couldn’t come up with a single good explanation for why I was wandering the streets with Ben. I think I just lamely replied, “Oh hi, Mrs. Shapiro,” and walked on. I prayed she would not tell my parents. We kept on walking, a little bored, if truth be told. We were happy enough to see Mrs. Kane when she came to pick us up at 6 o’clock.
When I got a little older, I understood that sometimes, it’s the idea of getting away with a crime that is the reward- not the actual crime itself. There’s an old expression that says, “Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.” So true. Just tell a kid that they can’t, and they’ll do summersaults trying to prove “oh yes I can! ”




In Grade School - Rabbi Paula


In grade school, I walked back and forth four times every day to school, tagging
after my big brother Eric. We came home every day for lunch and walked back for
the afternoon to our cozy neighborhood Chapman School. Eric was loosely
responsible for my safe delivery in both directions, but I am sure he tried to ditch
me along the way as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. It’s amazing to
consider how much times have changed when I recall those walks to school, three
quarters of a mile along Brighton Avenue (the busiest street on my side of town)
from the time I was five. No parents walked with us and no one worried at all. To
think of parents sending a five-year-old out the backdoor to walk to school is
beyond imagination today!
I have several clear memories of those walks. Across from the school was The
Corner Store. I am sure it had a name, but we all called it just what it was. We
would often stop on the way home to spend our nickels on candy and I recall
having a mad crush on a crossing guard named Chris. I spent my money on Necco
Wafers or Mars bars for him until my brother told my parents about the
purchases. I also remember creating a scene one morning for arriving very late. My first-
grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, met Eric and me in the large front hall of the school.
She stood taller than the doorways in my memory and asked in a very stern voice
where we had been. I do not remember if Eric and I simply dawdled or if there
was a reason for our late arrival, but as a rule-abiding, adult-pleasing child, I know
that I was devastated by her concern. When I remember that morning, I can feel
the fear and tightness in my little chest. How I wish that I could ask Eric if he
remembers. He always had a much better memory for detail than me. I’ll have to
make it up for both of us.




IN GRADE SCHOOL / “MOM, THE TEACHER HATES ME” - Joe


Welcome to Public School 36 in St Albans, Queens County, New York City and to the 7 th grade history honors class. The neighborhood was white and lower middle class, which was being upgraded after World War II. The classroom was the incubator. Meet some of the characters: Student 1---Jay Opal, the #1 student, a true renaissance intellectual and a great guy, the son of a Jewish businessman Student 2---Michael Goldman, #2 in the class, a photographic memory and an equally great guy. He was also Jewish and
his dad was a dentist. Student 3---Me! I had been #1 until Jay and Michael joined the class a year ago. If this trio wore NY Yankees uniforms, Jay was Babe Ruth, Michael was Lou Gehrig, and I was Tony Lazzarri (nobody
remembers him). The teacher---Mrs. Liptrot (no first name)—white, Christian, and middle aged—and most important, an excellent teacher of American History. That week we were studying the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She detested him. I revered him. She described FDR as the enemy of everything that had made America great in the past. She did it with drama and persuasion. She did not persuade me. She concluded, “What is the class’ opinion of President Roosevelt?” My hand was up immediately. She called on Jay first and Michael next; they celebrated her presentation in glowing terms. They lied convincingly and the three of us knew it. But Mrs. Liptrot was so happy---not for long. I spoke and refuted all her talking points. I was very funny to an audience of only me. My last sentence still lives in my mind. “So, how come
FDR is President of the United States of America and you’re just another elementary school teacher?” The next day at noon, my mother and I were in the principal’s office. Miss Carlin played the judge and Mrs. Liptrot was the prosecutor. The only missing piece was the electric chair. The two women laid out the charges and I was guilty. Ida Katz stood up and directed me to stand also. She sternly admonished me (i.e. crucified). I was a disgrace to my family
and to all immigrants who came to America to become citizens. She apologized for me. She would punish me and help me to become a respectful student. I mumbled I would. Miss Carlin and Mrs. Liptrop thanked mom and we left the
office. We got to the street and Ida Katz spoke to me. In Yiddish. She was mad. I never saw her that angry. “Did you learn anything?” I nodded, “Yes.” “Now it’s up to you! Yossel, I love you. BE A MENSCH.” She said, “Enough for a day. You and I are going to the cleaning store so I can explain this to your father.” She then said, “My parents warned me, ‘DON’T MARRY A GALITZIANER’ (for my Italian friends, think SICILIAN)” “Motel, so this is what happened:
1- Yossel is not being thrown out of school.
2-You are not having your citizenship revoked or being deported.
3-I fixed everything
4-Let’s have lunch”





WEEK 3: PROMPT # 5 

What games did you play growing up?  Were they “indoors” or “outdoors” games? Did you shoot marbles, play kick the can in the middle of the street, draw hopscotch on the sidewalk, jump rope?

Stories Submitted

In Grade School


I have many stories of things that happened when I was young—for some reason these are stand out moments, while I have forgotten so much from later in life. My earliest recollection was kindergarten, and my Mom walking me the six blocks to elementary school. Shortly after she left me at the door, I panicked and left the school –and walked home alone—at five years old. Suffice it to say she was surprised to see me. In grade school I remember walking home for lunch every day to cream of mushroom soup. It is one of those lovely memories of a warm welcome from my Mom and a hot lunch. And I still love the taste of that tinny soup! I had a wonderful teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Sindler was kind, patient, encouraging and the smartest man on the planet. For some reason he must’ve sensed that I needed extra TLC because he was so caring. He’s the only teacher that has stood out in all my years of schooling. Lastly, here’s a memory that nightmares are made of—it was recess, 4th grade, and one of the boys tied me to a tree in the play field. Unfortunately I was tied around the neck with my own scarf and could not free myself. The school bell rang and all the kids went inside—except for me–tied to a tree. I laugh/cry when I remember that. A teacher came out with a scissors and freed me.




The Big Sneak - Ellyn


I was the original obedient child. I was a very “good girl” and almost always did what was
expected of me. It was very important for me to please my parents. But when I was in 10 th
grade, I dabbled in living dangerously. One time, after Mrs. Kane dropped off our carpool at
Hebrew High School in Cedarhurst, Long Island, Ben Kane and I decided to cut class. Ben was cute, and the idea of being on our own for two hours seemed deliciously risky. So when his Mom’s car pulled away, we walked slowly toward the temple, and then headed off to the town. Cedarhurst was a busy town with lots of boutiques, ladies’ accessory stores, shoe stores, bakeries and coffee shops. Honestly, I don’t think we even went into a store. We just wandered around, walking up and down the streets. About an hour into our escape from Hebrew school, I heard a car horn honk. “ Hi Ellyn, what are you doing here?” It was my mother’s good friend Ruth Shapiro, driving right next to us in her 1964 Cadillac. Busted, I thought. I couldn’t come up with a single good explanation for why I was wandering the streets with Ben. I think I just lamely replied, “Oh hi, Mrs. Shapiro,” and walked on. I prayed she would not tell my parents. We kept on walking, a little bored, if truth be told. We were happy enough to see Mrs. Kane when she came to pick us up at 6 o’clock.
When I got a little older, I understood that sometimes, it’s the idea of getting away with a crime that is the reward- not the actual crime itself. There’s an old expression that says, “Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.” So true. Just tell a kid that they can’t, and they’ll do summersaults trying to prove “oh yes I can! ”




In Grade School - Rabbi Paula


In grade school, I walked back and forth four times every day to school, tagging
after my big brother Eric. We came home every day for lunch and walked back for
the afternoon to our cozy neighborhood Chapman School. Eric was loosely
responsible for my safe delivery in both directions, but I am sure he tried to ditch
me along the way as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. It’s amazing to
consider how much times have changed when I recall those walks to school, three
quarters of a mile along Brighton Avenue (the busiest street on my side of town)
from the time I was five. No parents walked with us and no one worried at all. To
think of parents sending a five-year-old out the backdoor to walk to school is
beyond imagination today!
I have several clear memories of those walks. Across from the school was The
Corner Store. I am sure it had a name, but we all called it just what it was. We
would often stop on the way home to spend our nickels on candy and I recall
having a mad crush on a crossing guard named Chris. I spent my money on Necco
Wafers or Mars bars for him until my brother told my parents about the
purchases. I also remember creating a scene one morning for arriving very late. My first-
grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, met Eric and me in the large front hall of the school.
She stood taller than the doorways in my memory and asked in a very stern voice
where we had been. I do not remember if Eric and I simply dawdled or if there
was a reason for our late arrival, but as a rule-abiding, adult-pleasing child, I know
that I was devastated by her concern. When I remember that morning, I can feel
the fear and tightness in my little chest. How I wish that I could ask Eric if he
remembers. He always had a much better memory for detail than me. I’ll have to
make it up for both of us.




IN GRADE SCHOOL / “MOM, THE TEACHER HATES ME” - Joe


Welcome to Public School 36 in St Albans, Queens County, New York City and to the 7 th grade history honors class. The neighborhood was white and lower middle class, which was being upgraded after World War II. The classroom was the incubator. Meet some of the characters: Student 1---Jay Opal, the #1 student, a true renaissance intellectual and a great guy, the son of a Jewish businessman Student 2---Michael Goldman, #2 in the class, a photographic memory and an equally great guy. He was also Jewish and
his dad was a dentist. Student 3---Me! I had been #1 until Jay and Michael joined the class a year ago. If this trio wore NY Yankees uniforms, Jay was Babe Ruth, Michael was Lou Gehrig, and I was Tony Lazzarri (nobody
remembers him). The teacher---Mrs. Liptrot (no first name)—white, Christian, and middle aged—and most important, an excellent teacher of American History. That week we were studying the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She detested him. I revered him. She described FDR as the enemy of everything that had made America great in the past. She did it with drama and persuasion. She did not persuade me. She concluded, “What is the class’ opinion of President Roosevelt?” My hand was up immediately. She called on Jay first and Michael next; they celebrated her presentation in glowing terms. They lied convincingly and the three of us knew it. But Mrs. Liptrot was so happy---not for long. I spoke and refuted all her talking points. I was very funny to an audience of only me. My last sentence still lives in my mind. “So, how come
FDR is President of the United States of America and you’re just another elementary school teacher?” The next day at noon, my mother and I were in the principal’s office. Miss Carlin played the judge and Mrs. Liptrot was the prosecutor. The only missing piece was the electric chair. The two women laid out the charges and I was guilty. Ida Katz stood up and directed me to stand also. She sternly admonished me (i.e. crucified). I was a disgrace to my family
and to all immigrants who came to America to become citizens. She apologized for me. She would punish me and help me to become a respectful student. I mumbled I would. Miss Carlin and Mrs. Liptrop thanked mom and we left the
office. We got to the street and Ida Katz spoke to me. In Yiddish. She was mad. I never saw her that angry. “Did you learn anything?” I nodded, “Yes.” “Now it’s up to you! Yossel, I love you. BE A MENSCH.” She said, “Enough for a day. You and I are going to the cleaning store so I can explain this to your father.” She then said, “My parents warned me, ‘DON’T MARRY A GALITZIANER’ (for my Italian friends, think SICILIAN)” “Motel, so this is what happened:
1- Yossel is not being thrown out of school.
2-You are not having your citizenship revoked or being deported.
3-I fixed everything
4-Let’s have lunch”





WEEK 3: PROMPT # 6 

There are certain smells and tastes that can transport you right back to a specific moment in time.  Perhaps you are sitting in Grandma’s kitchen or perhaps it was your own Mother or a favorite Aunt?  Did you help to cook a holiday meal? Maybe Grandma let you lick the bowl from the chocolate cookies? Did you have a favorite food that only Grandma could make just right?  Feel free to change the prompt to fit your memory.

Stories Submitted

I REMEMBER GOING TO THE DOCTOR-Janet


In Harrisburg where I grew up our family had one doctor. He was a jack-of-all-trades, taking
care of everything and everyone in the household, from babies to the elderly. If my mother
called, he would come to the house any time of day or night, and we often went to his one person
office for scheduled visits. Several visits stick out in my memory.
When I was 12 years old, I woke up one morning and was unable to walk. I had terrible pain in
the backs of my feet. I was lying on the living room couch, moaning, when Dr Viener arrived.
He examined me and asked what kind of shoes I had been wearing. I showed him my new flip
flops, which I had worn most of the previous day. Sure enough, it was a strain from the shoes.
In junior high school I had an assignment to write my autobiography. Having completed the
contents, I wanted to create a hard cover to make it look like a book, so I took the cover from a
children’s picture book and was trying to sew it together when the sewing needle broke and a
part of it lodged in my finger. Off we went to Dr Viener who had to numb my finger in order to
remove it.
School physicals were given every other year until the 8 th grade. They checked our height,
weight, glands, and I don’t recall what else. As the school doctor was examining me, I
overheard what he dictated to the nurse to write in my chart, “Supra pubic mass.” I hurried back
to my classroom and wrote down what I had heard, fearful that I would forget it. When I got
home I told my mother. Immediately she called Dr Viener who said, ‘Bring her right down,” As
he examined me, I remember him telling my mother that if he didn’t know me and my family, he
might suspect pregnancy but in my case it was probably just a full bladder. He was my doctor
until I left Harrisburg in 1958 and he was an honored guest at my wedding three years later.





WEEK 4: PROMPT # 7 

In some families, birthdays are national holidays.  In others they pass without fanfare.  Was there a special tradition or a favorite cake? Or maybe a special birthday party? Did you have to share with your siblings, or did you get to be the star on your birthday?

Stories Submitted

MY MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY AND MY FAVORITE PET - Andrea


I was sent to sleep away camp when I was not yet 5. My mom was sick after the
birth of my brother in June. Two very close cousins were the Head Counselor and
Camp Mother at that camp. In truth I think I spent most nights sleeping in their
cabin.
My 5th birthday was in July. The tiny campers had a bunny rabbit hutch near their
camp area. The counselor told me, on my birthday that she had a special surprise
for me. She took me by the hand and led me to the rabbit hutch. She opened the
door and pushed me in and said that I could play with the bunnies as a birthday
treat. The other children all called, "me too, me too." I was terrified to be locked in with the bunnies. I cried and screamed while the counselors said, “Andy, just pet
them-you will see how soft they are."
It was to no avail. My cousin heard the commotion and pulled me out. I
spent the rest of my birthday in their cabin. From that day on I never wanted a cat
or dog. They always reminded me of the bunnies. My parakeet, goldfish and
painted turtles from the circus were the only pets I ever had from that day to this. I guess my bunny story combines both prompt 7 And 8.




MY MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY - Claire


My most memorable birthday was not actually during my childhood, as one might
expect, which are usually accompanied by gatherings of friends and family. I was
26 on my best birthday up until then.

I was in labor with my first child who turned out to be a daughter. There was no
testing done in those days to determine the sex of the child before birth. We were
at my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday when it became apparent that my
first born might have the same birth date as I had. The labor pains continued until
my husband and I eventually went home to our apartment around the corner. At
about eleven that night, it was clear that this baby was fully baked and ready to
make an appearance. It’s a girl! We named her Jill. She missed being born on my
birthday by just a half hour. She clocked in at 12:30 a.m. Best birthday present
ever.




CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS - Ed


Birthdays were always special days growing up. I grew up with a younger brother and we shared a bedroom, as the third bedroom in the Cape Cod was occupied by my mom’s father. He had lost his wife and lived with us. Although we shared a room, our birthdays were our own special days. Usually, we had friends from our block in Queens over for a small party. We had half of our basement that was finished and that is where they took place. Next door to us lived a German couple. They never had any children and raised two dogs. They were from Germany and had an accent, but kind of looked at my brother and I as their kids. He was the head chef at The Old Dutch Inn in the Wall Street section of Manhattan. She always made a cake for our birthdays and they were delicious. They had a special bond with my parents, as during war time they were investigated since we were at war with Germany, and my parents basically vouched for them. It also helped that my dad was Air Raid Warden since he couldn’t serve because he couldn’t pass the medical. We had a lot of kids on the block with all kinds of backgrounds and religions. We all got along well and on Saturdays we would walk to the local theater in Fresh Meadows and watch the movies, cartoons, and serials. Sometimes as we got older, we would celebrate a birthday by going out to dinner and celebrating in the restaurant. Birthdays were always special!





WEEK 4: PROMPT # 8

In some families, birthdays are national holidays.  In others they pass without fanfare.  Was there a special tradition or a favorite cake? Or maybe a special birthday party? Did you have to share with your siblings, or did you get to be the star on your birthday?

Stories Submitted

In Grade School


I have many stories of things that happened when I was young—for some reason these are stand out moments, while I have forgotten so much from later in life. My earliest recollection was kindergarten, and my Mom walking me the six blocks to elementary school. Shortly after she left me at the door, I panicked and left the school –and walked home alone—at five years old. Suffice it to say she was surprised to see me. In grade school I remember walking home for lunch every day to cream of mushroom soup. It is one of those lovely memories of a warm welcome from my Mom and a hot lunch. And I still love the taste of that tinny soup! I had a wonderful teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Sindler was kind, patient, encouraging and the smartest man on the planet. For some reason he must’ve sensed that I needed extra TLC because he was so caring. He’s the only teacher that has stood out in all my years of schooling. Lastly, here’s a memory that nightmares are made of—it was recess, 4th grade, and one of the boys tied me to a tree in the play field. Unfortunately I was tied around the neck with my own scarf and could not free myself. The school bell rang and all the kids went inside—except for me–tied to a tree. I laugh/cry when I remember that. A teacher came out with a scissors and freed me.




The Big Sneak - Ellyn


I was the original obedient child. I was a very “good girl” and almost always did what was
expected of me. It was very important for me to please my parents. But when I was in 10 th
grade, I dabbled in living dangerously. One time, after Mrs. Kane dropped off our carpool at
Hebrew High School in Cedarhurst, Long Island, Ben Kane and I decided to cut class. Ben was cute, and the idea of being on our own for two hours seemed deliciously risky. So when his Mom’s car pulled away, we walked slowly toward the temple, and then headed off to the town. Cedarhurst was a busy town with lots of boutiques, ladies’ accessory stores, shoe stores, bakeries and coffee shops. Honestly, I don’t think we even went into a store. We just wandered around, walking up and down the streets. About an hour into our escape from Hebrew school, I heard a car horn honk. “ Hi Ellyn, what are you doing here?” It was my mother’s good friend Ruth Shapiro, driving right next to us in her 1964 Cadillac. Busted, I thought. I couldn’t come up with a single good explanation for why I was wandering the streets with Ben. I think I just lamely replied, “Oh hi, Mrs. Shapiro,” and walked on. I prayed she would not tell my parents. We kept on walking, a little bored, if truth be told. We were happy enough to see Mrs. Kane when she came to pick us up at 6 o’clock.
When I got a little older, I understood that sometimes, it’s the idea of getting away with a crime that is the reward- not the actual crime itself. There’s an old expression that says, “Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.” So true. Just tell a kid that they can’t, and they’ll do summersaults trying to prove “oh yes I can! ”




In Grade School - Rabbi Paula


In grade school, I walked back and forth four times every day to school, tagging
after my big brother Eric. We came home every day for lunch and walked back for
the afternoon to our cozy neighborhood Chapman School. Eric was loosely
responsible for my safe delivery in both directions, but I am sure he tried to ditch
me along the way as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. It’s amazing to
consider how much times have changed when I recall those walks to school, three
quarters of a mile along Brighton Avenue (the busiest street on my side of town)
from the time I was five. No parents walked with us and no one worried at all. To
think of parents sending a five-year-old out the backdoor to walk to school is
beyond imagination today!
I have several clear memories of those walks. Across from the school was The
Corner Store. I am sure it had a name, but we all called it just what it was. We
would often stop on the way home to spend our nickels on candy and I recall
having a mad crush on a crossing guard named Chris. I spent my money on Necco
Wafers or Mars bars for him until my brother told my parents about the
purchases. I also remember creating a scene one morning for arriving very late. My first-
grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, met Eric and me in the large front hall of the school.
She stood taller than the doorways in my memory and asked in a very stern voice
where we had been. I do not remember if Eric and I simply dawdled or if there
was a reason for our late arrival, but as a rule-abiding, adult-pleasing child, I know
that I was devastated by her concern. When I remember that morning, I can feel
the fear and tightness in my little chest. How I wish that I could ask Eric if he
remembers. He always had a much better memory for detail than me. I’ll have to
make it up for both of us.




IN GRADE SCHOOL / “MOM, THE TEACHER HATES ME” - Joe


Welcome to Public School 36 in St Albans, Queens County, New York City and to the 7 th grade history honors class. The neighborhood was white and lower middle class, which was being upgraded after World War II. The classroom was the incubator. Meet some of the characters: Student 1---Jay Opal, the #1 student, a true renaissance intellectual and a great guy, the son of a Jewish businessman Student 2---Michael Goldman, #2 in the class, a photographic memory and an equally great guy. He was also Jewish and
his dad was a dentist. Student 3---Me! I had been #1 until Jay and Michael joined the class a year ago. If this trio wore NY Yankees uniforms, Jay was Babe Ruth, Michael was Lou Gehrig, and I was Tony Lazzarri (nobody
remembers him). The teacher---Mrs. Liptrot (no first name)—white, Christian, and middle aged—and most important, an excellent teacher of American History. That week we were studying the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She detested him. I revered him. She described FDR as the enemy of everything that had made America great in the past. She did it with drama and persuasion. She did not persuade me. She concluded, “What is the class’ opinion of President Roosevelt?” My hand was up immediately. She called on Jay first and Michael next; they celebrated her presentation in glowing terms. They lied convincingly and the three of us knew it. But Mrs. Liptrot was so happy---not for long. I spoke and refuted all her talking points. I was very funny to an audience of only me. My last sentence still lives in my mind. “So, how come
FDR is President of the United States of America and you’re just another elementary school teacher?” The next day at noon, my mother and I were in the principal’s office. Miss Carlin played the judge and Mrs. Liptrot was the prosecutor. The only missing piece was the electric chair. The two women laid out the charges and I was guilty. Ida Katz stood up and directed me to stand also. She sternly admonished me (i.e. crucified). I was a disgrace to my family
and to all immigrants who came to America to become citizens. She apologized for me. She would punish me and help me to become a respectful student. I mumbled I would. Miss Carlin and Mrs. Liptrop thanked mom and we left the
office. We got to the street and Ida Katz spoke to me. In Yiddish. She was mad. I never saw her that angry. “Did you learn anything?” I nodded, “Yes.” “Now it’s up to you! Yossel, I love you. BE A MENSCH.” She said, “Enough for a day. You and I are going to the cleaning store so I can explain this to your father.” She then said, “My parents warned me, ‘DON’T MARRY A GALITZIANER’ (for my Italian friends, think SICILIAN)” “Motel, so this is what happened:
1- Yossel is not being thrown out of school.
2-You are not having your citizenship revoked or being deported.
3-I fixed everything
4-Let’s have lunch”





WEEK 5: PROMPT # 9 

Of course, grandma only has eyes for grandpa, and vice versa.  But what about the first time you noticed that the opposite sex might offer more than cooties? Did you have class together? Were you neighbors? Where did you first see them? What were they wearing? What did you like about them?

Stories Submitted

MY BROTHER AND ME-Andrea


Bobby is four years younger than me. He had bright red hair and so people always noticed him.
Looking back on our relationship I guess we got along like most young brothers and sisters, good
days and bad. Skinny me was always an issue for my mother. She and Bobby would meet me
after school with a banana.
One day, as Bobby and I ran ahead of Mommy he grabbed my banana and ate it. My mother
started screaming at him and said that she would tell daddy and he would be in real trouble.
Bobby started to cry and run away. He was about four years old. I guess mommy thought that he
would be in front of our apartment crying. He was not. She started calling his name and looking
for him. Soon everybody in the apartment house was searching and calling and crying. After a
while the police were called. They yelled louder and said maybe he was lost, got hurt or even
worse. It seemed like forever ‘til he was found by the police, hiding under the stairs leading to
the third floor of our building. My mother was surely relieved but he refused to come home
thinking the police would get him. He slept at a neighbor’s that night..
I remember how scared I was that he was lost and how relieved I was that he was found. It made
me realize how much I cared about him.
From then on I ate my own banana.




My Favorite Thing to do with my Best Friend - Ruth


Doing our homework together in each other’s homes was our all time favorite. Rae and I took the
same subjects and enjoyed our time together. We even wrote a Spanish play based on Arthur
Godfrey’s radio program called “Arturo Godfreyo y Sus Amigos.” Our Spanish class enjoyed it.
Our Latin translations were often difficult, but between the two of us, we managed to get the
work done.
Outside of school, I loved to do hairdos. Rae’s hair was very straight, and Toni Home
Permanents had just come out. So I asked her if she would like me to give her a permanent. She
was up for it. It was messy and “smelly,” but we got through the process. I did it for her a few
times, but the first time was a disaster. It was too curly and very frizzy. She was good about it.
After the first one, I improved, and Rae liked it so much she asked her mother if she would like
one. She had one long braid that went all the way down her back. She was willing to have me cut
off the braid and give her a permanent. She looked so different and really liked it.
If we did not do our homework together, we would talk on the phone for a VERY LONG TIME!
My married sister, who happened to be visiting one day said, “You just got off the bus and now
you’re on the phone??!!!”
Rae and I were more like sisters than friends. We never had an argument and are still friends 74
years later!





WEEK 5: PROMPT # 10 

When I picked up my high school yearbook, I was transported back to 1958, holding the book under my arm as I wandered the halls of William Penn High School in Harrisburg, PA looking for friends to sign it.  What was high school like for you? Do you recognize the people in your yearbook? Do you recognize yourself? What do the things people wrote remind you of?

Stories Submitted

In Grade School


I have many stories of things that happened when I was young—for some reason these are stand out moments, while I have forgotten so much from later in life. My earliest recollection was kindergarten, and my Mom walking me the six blocks to elementary school. Shortly after she left me at the door, I panicked and left the school –and walked home alone—at five years old. Suffice it to say she was surprised to see me. In grade school I remember walking home for lunch every day to cream of mushroom soup. It is one of those lovely memories of a warm welcome from my Mom and a hot lunch. And I still love the taste of that tinny soup! I had a wonderful teacher for sixth grade. Mr. Sindler was kind, patient, encouraging and the smartest man on the planet. For some reason he must’ve sensed that I needed extra TLC because he was so caring. He’s the only teacher that has stood out in all my years of schooling. Lastly, here’s a memory that nightmares are made of—it was recess, 4th grade, and one of the boys tied me to a tree in the play field. Unfortunately I was tied around the neck with my own scarf and could not free myself. The school bell rang and all the kids went inside—except for me–tied to a tree. I laugh/cry when I remember that. A teacher came out with a scissors and freed me.




The Big Sneak - Ellyn


I was the original obedient child. I was a very “good girl” and almost always did what was
expected of me. It was very important for me to please my parents. But when I was in 10 th
grade, I dabbled in living dangerously. One time, after Mrs. Kane dropped off our carpool at
Hebrew High School in Cedarhurst, Long Island, Ben Kane and I decided to cut class. Ben was cute, and the idea of being on our own for two hours seemed deliciously risky. So when his Mom’s car pulled away, we walked slowly toward the temple, and then headed off to the town. Cedarhurst was a busy town with lots of boutiques, ladies’ accessory stores, shoe stores, bakeries and coffee shops. Honestly, I don’t think we even went into a store. We just wandered around, walking up and down the streets. About an hour into our escape from Hebrew school, I heard a car horn honk. “ Hi Ellyn, what are you doing here?” It was my mother’s good friend Ruth Shapiro, driving right next to us in her 1964 Cadillac. Busted, I thought. I couldn’t come up with a single good explanation for why I was wandering the streets with Ben. I think I just lamely replied, “Oh hi, Mrs. Shapiro,” and walked on. I prayed she would not tell my parents. We kept on walking, a little bored, if truth be told. We were happy enough to see Mrs. Kane when she came to pick us up at 6 o’clock.
When I got a little older, I understood that sometimes, it’s the idea of getting away with a crime that is the reward- not the actual crime itself. There’s an old expression that says, “Forbidden fruits are the sweetest.” So true. Just tell a kid that they can’t, and they’ll do summersaults trying to prove “oh yes I can! ”




In Grade School - Rabbi Paula


In grade school, I walked back and forth four times every day to school, tagging
after my big brother Eric. We came home every day for lunch and walked back for
the afternoon to our cozy neighborhood Chapman School. Eric was loosely
responsible for my safe delivery in both directions, but I am sure he tried to ditch
me along the way as I was the only girl in a neighborhood of boys. It’s amazing to
consider how much times have changed when I recall those walks to school, three
quarters of a mile along Brighton Avenue (the busiest street on my side of town)
from the time I was five. No parents walked with us and no one worried at all. To
think of parents sending a five-year-old out the backdoor to walk to school is
beyond imagination today!
I have several clear memories of those walks. Across from the school was The
Corner Store. I am sure it had a name, but we all called it just what it was. We
would often stop on the way home to spend our nickels on candy and I recall
having a mad crush on a crossing guard named Chris. I spent my money on Necco
Wafers or Mars bars for him until my brother told my parents about the
purchases. I also remember creating a scene one morning for arriving very late. My first-
grade teacher, Mrs. Merrill, met Eric and me in the large front hall of the school.
She stood taller than the doorways in my memory and asked in a very stern voice
where we had been. I do not remember if Eric and I simply dawdled or if there
was a reason for our late arrival, but as a rule-abiding, adult-pleasing child, I know
that I was devastated by her concern. When I remember that morning, I can feel
the fear and tightness in my little chest. How I wish that I could ask Eric if he
remembers. He always had a much better memory for detail than me. I’ll have to
make it up for both of us.




IN GRADE SCHOOL / “MOM, THE TEACHER HATES ME” - Joe


Welcome to Public School 36 in St Albans, Queens County, New York City and to the 7 th grade history honors class. The neighborhood was white and lower middle class, which was being upgraded after World War II. The classroom was the incubator. Meet some of the characters: Student 1---Jay Opal, the #1 student, a true renaissance intellectual and a great guy, the son of a Jewish businessman Student 2---Michael Goldman, #2 in the class, a photographic memory and an equally great guy. He was also Jewish and
his dad was a dentist. Student 3---Me! I had been #1 until Jay and Michael joined the class a year ago. If this trio wore NY Yankees uniforms, Jay was Babe Ruth, Michael was Lou Gehrig, and I was Tony Lazzarri (nobody
remembers him). The teacher---Mrs. Liptrot (no first name)—white, Christian, and middle aged—and most important, an excellent teacher of American History. That week we were studying the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She detested him. I revered him. She described FDR as the enemy of everything that had made America great in the past. She did it with drama and persuasion. She did not persuade me. She concluded, “What is the class’ opinion of President Roosevelt?” My hand was up immediately. She called on Jay first and Michael next; they celebrated her presentation in glowing terms. They lied convincingly and the three of us knew it. But Mrs. Liptrot was so happy---not for long. I spoke and refuted all her talking points. I was very funny to an audience of only me. My last sentence still lives in my mind. “So, how come
FDR is President of the United States of America and you’re just another elementary school teacher?” The next day at noon, my mother and I were in the principal’s office. Miss Carlin played the judge and Mrs. Liptrot was the prosecutor. The only missing piece was the electric chair. The two women laid out the charges and I was guilty. Ida Katz stood up and directed me to stand also. She sternly admonished me (i.e. crucified). I was a disgrace to my family
and to all immigrants who came to America to become citizens. She apologized for me. She would punish me and help me to become a respectful student. I mumbled I would. Miss Carlin and Mrs. Liptrop thanked mom and we left the
office. We got to the street and Ida Katz spoke to me. In Yiddish. She was mad. I never saw her that angry. “Did you learn anything?” I nodded, “Yes.” “Now it’s up to you! Yossel, I love you. BE A MENSCH.” She said, “Enough for a day. You and I are going to the cleaning store so I can explain this to your father.” She then said, “My parents warned me, ‘DON’T MARRY A GALITZIANER’ (for my Italian friends, think SICILIAN)” “Motel, so this is what happened:
1- Yossel is not being thrown out of school.
2-You are not having your citizenship revoked or being deported.
3-I fixed everything
4-Let’s have lunch”





WEEK 6: PROMPT # 11 

Some say a sibling is a friend for life.  What about you? Were you co-conspirators or sworn enemies?  What about the time you covered for each other or a secret you shared?  You can choose at what age, which sibling, just one or all of them. Feel free to replace sibling with cousin or another family member or a best friend.

Stories Submitted

MY BROTHER AND ME-Andrea


Bobby is four years younger than me. He had bright red hair and so people always noticed him.
Looking back on our relationship I guess we got along like most young brothers and sisters, good
days and bad. Skinny me was always an issue for my mother. She and Bobby would meet me
after school with a banana.
One day, as Bobby and I ran ahead of Mommy he grabbed my banana and ate it. My mother
started screaming at him and said that she would tell daddy and he would be in real trouble.
Bobby started to cry and run away. He was about four years old. I guess mommy thought that he
would be in front of our apartment crying. He was not. She started calling his name and looking
for him. Soon everybody in the apartment house was searching and calling and crying. After a
while the police were called. They yelled louder and said maybe he was lost, got hurt or even
worse. It seemed like forever ‘til he was found by the police, hiding under the stairs leading to
the third floor of our building. My mother was surely relieved but he refused to come home
thinking the police would get him. He slept at a neighbor’s that night..
I remember how scared I was that he was lost and how relieved I was that he was found. It made
me realize how much I cared about him.
From then on I ate my own banana.




My Favorite Thing to do with my Best Friend - Ruth


Doing our homework together in each other’s homes was our all time favorite. Rae and I took the
same subjects and enjoyed our time together. We even wrote a Spanish play based on Arthur
Godfrey’s radio program called “Arturo Godfreyo y Sus Amigos.” Our Spanish class enjoyed it.
Our Latin translations were often difficult, but between the two of us, we managed to get the
work done.
Outside of school, I loved to do hairdos. Rae’s hair was very straight, and Toni Home
Permanents had just come out. So I asked her if she would like me to give her a permanent. She
was up for it. It was messy and “smelly,” but we got through the process. I did it for her a few
times, but the first time was a disaster. It was too curly and very frizzy. She was good about it.
After the first one, I improved, and Rae liked it so much she asked her mother if she would like
one. She had one long braid that went all the way down her back. She was willing to have me cut
off the braid and give her a permanent. She looked so different and really liked it.
If we did not do our homework together, we would talk on the phone for a VERY LONG TIME!
My married sister, who happened to be visiting one day said, “You just got off the bus and now
you’re on the phone??!!!”
Rae and I were more like sisters than friends. We never had an argument and are still friends 74
years later!





WEEK 6: PROMPT # 12

What was your family doctor like?  Was he kind and friendly or were you scared when you had to see him?  Did he give out lollipops if you were good?  And oh, those shots!

Stories Submitted

MY MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY AND MY FAVORITE PET - Andrea


I was sent to sleep away camp when I was not yet 5. My mom was sick after the
birth of my brother in June. Two very close cousins were the Head Counselor and
Camp Mother at that camp. In truth I think I spent most nights sleeping in their
cabin.
My 5th birthday was in July. The tiny campers had a bunny rabbit hutch near their
camp area. The counselor told me, on my birthday that she had a special surprise
for me. She took me by the hand and led me to the rabbit hutch. She opened the
door and pushed me in and said that I could play with the bunnies as a birthday
treat. The other children all called, "me too, me too." I was terrified to be locked in with the bunnies. I cried and screamed while the counselors said, “Andy, just pet
them-you will see how soft they are."
It was to no avail. My cousin heard the commotion and pulled me out. I
spent the rest of my birthday in their cabin. From that day on I never wanted a cat
or dog. They always reminded me of the bunnies. My parakeet, goldfish and
painted turtles from the circus were the only pets I ever had from that day to this. I guess my bunny story combines both prompt 7 And 8.




MY MOST MEMORABLE BIRTHDAY - Claire


My most memorable birthday was not actually during my childhood, as one might
expect, which are usually accompanied by gatherings of friends and family. I was
26 on my best birthday up until then.

I was in labor with my first child who turned out to be a daughter. There was no
testing done in those days to determine the sex of the child before birth. We were
at my parents’ house to celebrate my birthday when it became apparent that my
first born might have the same birth date as I had. The labor pains continued until
my husband and I eventually went home to our apartment around the corner. At
about eleven that night, it was clear that this baby was fully baked and ready to
make an appearance. It’s a girl! We named her Jill. She missed being born on my
birthday by just a half hour. She clocked in at 12:30 a.m. Best birthday present
ever.




CELEBRATING BIRTHDAYS - Ed


Birthdays were always special days growing up. I grew up with a younger brother and we shared a bedroom, as the third bedroom in the Cape Cod was occupied by my mom’s father. He had lost his wife and lived with us. Although we shared a room, our birthdays were our own special days. Usually, we had friends from our block in Queens over for a small party. We had half of our basement that was finished and that is where they took place. Next door to us lived a German couple. They never had any children and raised two dogs. They were from Germany and had an accent, but kind of looked at my brother and I as their kids. He was the head chef at The Old Dutch Inn in the Wall Street section of Manhattan. She always made a cake for our birthdays and they were delicious. They had a special bond with my parents, as during war time they were investigated since we were at war with Germany, and my parents basically vouched for them. It also helped that my dad was Air Raid Warden since he couldn’t serve because he couldn’t pass the medical. We had a lot of kids on the block with all kinds of backgrounds and religions. We all got along well and on Saturdays we would walk to the local theater in Fresh Meadows and watch the movies, cartoons, and serials. Sometimes as we got older, we would celebrate a birthday by going out to dinner and celebrating in the restaurant. Birthdays were always special!