Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Guest Blog by Myrtle

Since I do not remember much about our Grandma, I asked Myrtle to write a guest blog about her. She wrote:

My earliest memories of Grandma were in the house on Kensington Avenue in St. Louis. My mother, Bernadine, my dad, Bob, my sister, Merilyn, Uncle Erv, Aunt Evelyn, and Grandma lived on the first floor of a flat. Aunt Sadie, Uncle Morris, and Bip lived upstairs. I shared a room with my parents. Merilyn, Grandma, and Aunt Evelyn shared a room, and Uncle Erv slept on a couch in the front hallway. I could not understand why my parents got upset with me for singing nursery rhymes late into the night. Needless to say, it was cozy living.

I spent a lot of time sitting on a high stool in the kitchen watching Grandma prepare meals. That is where I learned to cook by observing what she did. She would not let me help, as she kept a "kosher" kitchen, and I might get the meat and milk dishes mixed up. Grandma was a wonderful cook. On Fridays, she would get up at the crack of dawn, and prepare the Sabbath meal, often making her own noodles, challah, chicken soup, roast, and home baked sweets. Usually the vegetables were out of a can, and were limited to fairly standard fare such as corn, spinach, and peas.

Late Friday afternoon, when all of the cooking was finished, Grandma would take her once weekly bath, wash her hair, pouring vinegar on it to make it shine. Then she would put on a nice dress. Most Friday nights, the only ones home for dinner were my Dad, Merilyn, and me. The others all worked. After dinner, she would set the leftovers on top of the pilot light, where they would stay till the next day. On Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, she would not work or ride, and she attended services at the Synagogue. Occasionally, she would break the commandment about riding, and she and I would walk out of the neighborhood and catch the bus or streetcar and ride to visit Aunt Evelyn's family [later, after Evelyn married].

Just before my sixth birthday, we moved to 740 Leland Avenue in University City. Grandma let the bank repossess the house as the neighborhood was starting to deteriorate and was getting expensive to maintain. The third floor apartment was really much nicer, and quite spacious. Within the first year after we all moved in, both Uncle Erv and Aunt Evelyn married. My Mother decorated the apartment very nicely, just as she would have decorated a home. We lived there for 10 or 11 years. When my sister married when I was twelve years old, she and her husband lived there too, as there was a major housing shortage post World War 2. It was not too long after Merilyn married that Grandma was diagnosed with senile dementia and had to be moved to a nursing home. I think I was about 16 years old when we moved to Canterbury Gardens on Delmar Boulevard.

More tales about Grandma to come.


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