Monday, May 13, 2013
PHOTO/ Togan Gokhakar
THANK YOU,Tess at Magpie Tales...
My Grandpa Jake fancied he looked like Bela Lugosi. My Grandma Rebecca, who favored hats under all circumstances, learned a long time ago not to tell him to smile for a photograph. Because he would likely have slipped some Times Square souvenir fangs into his mouth. He enjoyed being inappropriate.
Rebecca, the gorgeous redhead in the family, wore a flower in her hair while giving birth to my mother. It is said.
This particular day we went by ferry to the newly opened Wall of Names at Ellis Island. Then a quick photo before they searched for their names. Which I had submitted to be placed on the wall as a tribute to their discovering America.
A guard came by and told Grandpa to please put his cigarette out. Grandma never had any success with this. Truth be told, sometimes she puffed away on a Camel's. And in the Russian way, while enjoying a glass of tea, some raspberry jam stirred into it.
Grandpa always rolled his own. He had a small leather pouch for the tobacco. And papers. I thought he was a cowboy. At 72nd Street and Broadway. Years later his style of rolling remained with me.
I brought some note paper and lead pencils with me so that they could make a copy of their names from the wall. On the trip back from Ellis Island they compared rubbings. Grandma's hat was swept off her head by an extreme gust of wind. Grandpa dropped his cigarette. By then he was buying packs. He grabbed at the brim, slightly crushing it. He put it on Rebecca's head, backwards. On purpose, of course.
He was a tailor, an entrepreneur, and a poet. She baked bread and told scary fortunes.
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