In response to requests to share your stories, here is the website where you can do that. Each week stories from each prompt will be posted.  You are encouraged to share your writings, your memories, either with your name, first name only, or anonymously.  When submitting, please indicate your preference. Enjoy, reflect and remember!

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

After Lights Out - Claire


Bed time, school tomorrow, lights out. Well, the lights were out but I wasn’t going to sleep. I was under the covers and on the phone. Now I’m not going to tell you how old I am just, suffice it to say, this was before cell phones. I didn’t even have an extension to the phone in my room. So, how was I on the phone, you ask. Well, there was a neighbor in our building who was an electrician. I assume that my father had a conversation with him and, the next thing you know is my best friend and I had a “phone” rigged up from my bedroom to hers. She lived on the other side of the building, you see, and, stroke of luck, her bedroom and mine shared a fire escape and a wall, though we never did use the fire escape. The phone was just a little thing, maybe 3 inches long. She had one and I had one with the on/off switch on my side. If we wanted to talk, we’d knock on the wall to alert each other to pick up the phone. We would talk and giggle under the covers. “Did you see that new cute boy in our 4th grade class?” There was never a loss as to what to talk and giggle about. We had that phone for years. Now, it’s so many years later. Our conversations are now about our children, grandchildren and how great it is to be retired. Yes, we still keep in touch and I partially credit that little phone in the wall. Could the neighbor who rigged it up for us realize what he created? Thanks Dad for doing that for me.




After Lights Out - Ed


After Lights out I used to do different things. I shared a room with my brother and we always tried to catch up and whisper about what we had done during that day, as we were three years apart in age. Most of the time I would take a flashlight and read under the covers.

I had a reading problem early on until a teacher named Mrs. Riley refused to give up on me in the 3rd grade. She even visited my house and got me started reading Classic Comics. They were comics with true stories from American history that were drawn in cells, just like comics (illustrated). The dam seemed to burst and I couldn’t stop reading. My favorites became Superman, Super Boy and Batman. I would read unless my Dad caught me and told me to go to sleep.

I also was crazy about the Brooklyn Dodgers. I would take my little transistor radio and listen to the games under the covers. I grew up in Queens and sometimes would take the shuttle from Flushing to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers play. That just about covers my late night activities in those days.





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

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 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 First Car - Andrea


My first car was a Chevy Vega, a graduation gift from college. Because the engine was in the back it was rated as the most dangerous car on the road. In ten years it never gave me any problems, but driving lessons did. My dad arranged driving lessons for me at the AAA on Columbus Circle and 59th Street in NYC. When i got in the car for the first time, cars, trucks and busses whizzed by. I said "I can't do this." The instructor said “Honey...I get paid if you drive or not so GO." With each lesson I gained more confidence and from that moment to this I was never afraid to drive anyplace. When I moved to Orangeburg my friends would only drive local quiet streets. I guess the moral in those days was FATHER KNOWS BEST. Incidentally my mom never drove.




My First Car - Claire


Oh my! My first outing alone after getting my driver’s license and the car
seems to have a mind of its own. I had a doctor’s appointment just a few
short blocks from the apartment where I lived with my family that consisted
of my parents and my younger brother. My father had taught me to drive
and I passed the test on the first try. Why did the car seem to be moving on
its own power?
I kept my foot on the brake and made it home in one piece. I stopped in
front of our apartment building and breathed a sigh of relief. While I was
pulling myself together, a neighbor from the building was walking by and
stopped to say hello to me. Of course I took the opportunity to tell her my
problem. She listened attentively and then quietly pointed toward the gas
pedal and said, “Your car mat is on the gas pedal.”




My First Car-Beginning a New Chapter in Life - Joe


Wow! September 1959. A 1959 white Plymouth sedan was ours. A basic mode of
modern transportation was going to help us move along in life.
I met Shelly Kerper, lovely, charming and beautiful in 1955. I was a freshman at
NYU Dental School and she a sophomore at Brooklyn College. We married in 1958.
We lived in a small studio apartment (I never saw a large one) at the Ocean
Parkway exit of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Shelly taught first grade at the
East Meadow Elementary School. Shelly supported us both and luckily we didn’t
eat much. Her generous parents gave us their old (aptly named) Oldsmobile which
had 140,000 miles and a faulty electrical system. I enlisted in the United States Air Force and we drove from Brooklyn to the air force
base in Orlando, Florida. We said good-bye to our Oldsmobile and welcomed our
new Plymouth. So, September 1959 was a true transition for us. A song I wrote, “This is the Air Force, Dr. Katz,” (which Irving Berlin modified) was
playing in my head as I drove to work. A large impressive sign “McCoy Air Force
Base-Strategic Air Command-321 st Bomb Wing” marked the entrance. The new
Plymouth and the young Captain entered. The Plymouth’s front bumper had a large
sticker that read “Captain, 813 Medical Group, McCoy AFB, USAF, SAC”. The old
car had a bumper sticker also, “Original Pete’s Pizza.” The car and driver were saluted by a smartly uniformed sergeant and greeted,
“Good morning, doctor. Have a good day, sir.” I returned his salute, wished him a
good day, and addressed him by rank and name (which I read on his uniform).
What a nice way to start a day and begin my military career, a wonderful two
years. No one ever saluted that car again, but the car did receive recognition by the New
York Police Department for parking violations.





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

My Favorite Games Growing Up - Claire


Win or lose. It didn’t really matter. I’ve always enjoyed playing games.
As a little girl, I would spend a lot of weekends at my maternal
grandparents’ house. We did fun things together but the thing I liked best
was playing games with them. They were long past the time when their own
kids lived at home, so mostly we played cards which were readily available.
We started off with the easy card games like “steal the old man’s bundle“
and “war.” As I got older, the games got harder; rummy, gin rummy and
the like. I’m sure it’s not the card games I was enamored with, but the
enjoyment of playing with my grandparents and having their undivided
attention.
My grandparents are gone but the tradition carries on. When we get
together with my 4 grandsons, the games have gone up a notch in difficulty.
The 2 youngest grandsons, 9 and 14, have learned to play mah jongg and
play a competitive game. The older ones, 16 and 19, play, and have taught
me, Catan, which I found very difficult. If they can tolerate playing it with
me again, I’ll try to do better. As it was when playing with my grandparents,
parents, children, grandchildren or friends, it’s being with the people that’s
the fun.





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

My Favorite Games Growing Up - Claire


Win or lose. It didn’t really matter. I’ve always enjoyed playing games.
As a little girl, I would spend a lot of weekends at my maternal
grandparents’ house. We did fun things together but the thing I liked best
was playing games with them. They were long past the time when their own
kids lived at home, so mostly we played cards which were readily available.
We started off with the easy card games like “steal the old man’s bundle“
and “war.” As I got older, the games got harder; rummy, gin rummy and
the like. I’m sure it’s not the card games I was enamored with, but the
enjoyment of playing with my grandparents and having their undivided
attention.
My grandparents are gone but the tradition carries on. When we get
together with my 4 grandsons, the games have gone up a notch in difficulty.
The 2 youngest grandsons, 9 and 14, have learned to play mah jongg and
play a competitive game. The older ones, 16 and 19, play, and have taught
me, Catan, which I found very difficult. If they can tolerate playing it with
me again, I’ll try to do better. As it was when playing with my grandparents,
parents, children, grandchildren or friends, it’s being with the people that’s
the fun.





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 First Car - Andrea


My first car was a Chevy Vega, a graduation gift from college. Because the engine was in the back it was rated as the most dangerous car on the road. In ten years it never gave me any problems, but driving lessons did. My dad arranged driving lessons for me at the AAA on Columbus Circle and 59th Street in NYC. When i got in the car for the first time, cars, trucks and busses whizzed by. I said "I can't do this." The instructor said “Honey...I get paid if you drive or not so GO." With each lesson I gained more confidence and from that moment to this I was never afraid to drive anyplace. When I moved to Orangeburg my friends would only drive local quiet streets. I guess the moral in those days was FATHER KNOWS BEST. Incidentally my mom never drove.




My First Car - Claire


Oh my! My first outing alone after getting my driver’s license and the car
seems to have a mind of its own. I had a doctor’s appointment just a few
short blocks from the apartment where I lived with my family that consisted
of my parents and my younger brother. My father had taught me to drive
and I passed the test on the first try. Why did the car seem to be moving on
its own power?
I kept my foot on the brake and made it home in one piece. I stopped in
front of our apartment building and breathed a sigh of relief. While I was
pulling myself together, a neighbor from the building was walking by and
stopped to say hello to me. Of course I took the opportunity to tell her my
problem. She listened attentively and then quietly pointed toward the gas
pedal and said, “Your car mat is on the gas pedal.”




My First Car-Beginning a New Chapter in Life - Joe


Wow! September 1959. A 1959 white Plymouth sedan was ours. A basic mode of
modern transportation was going to help us move along in life.
I met Shelly Kerper, lovely, charming and beautiful in 1955. I was a freshman at
NYU Dental School and she a sophomore at Brooklyn College. We married in 1958.
We lived in a small studio apartment (I never saw a large one) at the Ocean
Parkway exit of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Shelly taught first grade at the
East Meadow Elementary School. Shelly supported us both and luckily we didn’t
eat much. Her generous parents gave us their old (aptly named) Oldsmobile which
had 140,000 miles and a faulty electrical system. I enlisted in the United States Air Force and we drove from Brooklyn to the air force
base in Orlando, Florida. We said good-bye to our Oldsmobile and welcomed our
new Plymouth. So, September 1959 was a true transition for us. A song I wrote, “This is the Air Force, Dr. Katz,” (which Irving Berlin modified) was
playing in my head as I drove to work. A large impressive sign “McCoy Air Force
Base-Strategic Air Command-321 st Bomb Wing” marked the entrance. The new
Plymouth and the young Captain entered. The Plymouth’s front bumper had a large
sticker that read “Captain, 813 Medical Group, McCoy AFB, USAF, SAC”. The old
car had a bumper sticker also, “Original Pete’s Pizza.” The car and driver were saluted by a smartly uniformed sergeant and greeted,
“Good morning, doctor. Have a good day, sir.” I returned his salute, wished him a
good day, and addressed him by rank and name (which I read on his uniform).
What a nice way to start a day and begin my military career, a wonderful two
years. No one ever saluted that car again, but the car did receive recognition by the New
York Police Department for parking violations.





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

My Favorite Games Growing Up - Claire


Win or lose. It didn’t really matter. I’ve always enjoyed playing games.
As a little girl, I would spend a lot of weekends at my maternal
grandparents’ house. We did fun things together but the thing I liked best
was playing games with them. They were long past the time when their own
kids lived at home, so mostly we played cards which were readily available.
We started off with the easy card games like “steal the old man’s bundle“
and “war.” As I got older, the games got harder; rummy, gin rummy and
the like. I’m sure it’s not the card games I was enamored with, but the
enjoyment of playing with my grandparents and having their undivided
attention.
My grandparents are gone but the tradition carries on. When we get
together with my 4 grandsons, the games have gone up a notch in difficulty.
The 2 youngest grandsons, 9 and 14, have learned to play mah jongg and
play a competitive game. The older ones, 16 and 19, play, and have taught
me, Catan, which I found very difficult. If they can tolerate playing it with
me again, I’ll try to do better. As it was when playing with my grandparents,
parents, children, grandchildren or friends, it’s being with the people that’s
the fun.





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

My Favorite Games Growing Up - Claire


Win or lose. It didn’t really matter. I’ve always enjoyed playing games.
As a little girl, I would spend a lot of weekends at my maternal
grandparents’ house. We did fun things together but the thing I liked best
was playing games with them. They were long past the time when their own
kids lived at home, so mostly we played cards which were readily available.
We started off with the easy card games like “steal the old man’s bundle“
and “war.” As I got older, the games got harder; rummy, gin rummy and
the like. I’m sure it’s not the card games I was enamored with, but the
enjoyment of playing with my grandparents and having their undivided
attention.
My grandparents are gone but the tradition carries on. When we get
together with my 4 grandsons, the games have gone up a notch in difficulty.
The 2 youngest grandsons, 9 and 14, have learned to play mah jongg and
play a competitive game. The older ones, 16 and 19, play, and have taught
me, Catan, which I found very difficult. If they can tolerate playing it with
me again, I’ll try to do better. As it was when playing with my grandparents,
parents, children, grandchildren or friends, it’s being with the people that’s
the fun.





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

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 # 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 Favorite Games Growing Up - Claire


Win or lose. It didn’t really matter. I’ve always enjoyed playing games.
As a little girl, I would spend a lot of weekends at my maternal
grandparents’ house. We did fun things together but the thing I liked best
was playing games with them. They were long past the time when their own
kids lived at home, so mostly we played cards which were readily available.
We started off with the easy card games like “steal the old man’s bundle“
and “war.” As I got older, the games got harder; rummy, gin rummy and
the like. I’m sure it’s not the card games I was enamored with, but the
enjoyment of playing with my grandparents and having their undivided
attention.
My grandparents are gone but the tradition carries on. When we get
together with my 4 grandsons, the games have gone up a notch in difficulty.
The 2 youngest grandsons, 9 and 14, have learned to play mah jongg and
play a competitive game. The older ones, 16 and 19, play, and have taught
me, Catan, which I found very difficult. If they can tolerate playing it with
me again, I’ll try to do better. As it was when playing with my grandparents,
parents, children, grandchildren or friends, it’s being with the people that’s
the fun.





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