Heads Up excerpt

Just then Nathan ran inside and said, "Ma, come. I broke a window and an old lady is crying."

"Oh, my. I better go and see." Mommy washed her hands and dried them on a towel she kept over her shoulder. She put on a sweater and said, "Hinda, you better come."

I scrambled to keep up with Mommy and Nathan as they walked around the corner and into an apartment building on Floyd Street.

Nathan pointed to the open door, then scooted away. An old lady crying in Yiddish stood inside. Dad and Mommy spoke Yiddish when they didn't want the kids to understand, so I couldn't.

We followed this old woman whose thick rolled-up stockings ended right above her black tie shoes. No light came from the electric bulb. Once in the kitchen, gray light streaked through the large broken window. An old baseball had plunked itself in the middle of the table.

The old woman explained in broken English, Yiddish and hand movements how she'd spent the day making the bletelach by mixing flour and eggs, rolling small mounts in the frying pan, then popping it onto a dish towel while she rolled the next one.

She showed us how she'd sat down at the table to catch the light, mixed the soft cheese with the eggs and sugar, plopped a spoonful in the middle, then rolled the dough and put the blintzes under the window. She wiped her tears with her large apron. Her son- in- law was in the army. Blintzes were his favorite. How was she to know the boys were playing ball in the yard? Didn't see too good. Didn't hear too good.

I got the gist by looking at the shattered glass over the table, over the floor, over the homemade blintzes. It'd be comical if Nathan hadn't done it. I didn't laugh.

<< Back to excerpts