While it is next to impossible to find the long forgotten village on the Bug River my father's family is from it is very easy to find Lvov the city my mothers family is from. My grandmother was born in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Her father was a locally prominent rabbi and her mother was one of many who died in the great flu epidemic of 1918. My grandmother was not religious and saw her mother with her boyfriend sneaking into the facility shortly before her mother died.
Her father was quickly set to be remarried and had little patience for a love struck head strong teen. Her father hated my grandmothers boyfriend as he was a baker and not a man of books. He sent his troublesome daughter to America to keep her away from the troubled youth. My grandmother went to work in sweatshops and saved up enough money to smuggle her boyfriend illegally into the country where they wed. They started a small business newstand/ luncheonette. The couple had two children and were doing well for a while. The government did catch up with her husband who was sent to Canada for a legal entry. The happiness did not last
as her husband was mentally unstable and vanished with all the money and the cleaning woman.
My grandmother was left with two young children no money and a business. However, my grandmother was a tough woman and managed the store and was back on her feet. Her children ended up working in the business, but she made sue their grades did not suffer. She invested in the stock market and never looked back. She was a shrewd businesswoman long before it was fashionable.
Her exhusband appeared after the ravages of cancer took their toll. She refused to meet with him as did my Uncle. My mother did meet with a father she hardly remembered who could not
answer her any of her questions. Sometimes, there are no answers and one shouldn't try.
My grandmother assumed all of her family died in the Holocaust . In late 1948 she was surprised after the Jewish agency asked her about her youngest brother. It took no small effort of the poor folks at the Joint Distribution Services to locate my grandmother who had moved several times and had been through half a dozen new businesses. My Uncle had nowhere to go, that story will be the final story. My grandmother took her brother in but his mental and physical health were not the best. He went to work in the business until my grandmother retired.
Amazingly my grandmother never ever said a bad word about her ex-husband. She didn't live in the past and she never dennied she deeply loved her first husband. However, mooning over lost loves did not pay the bills or get the job at hand done.
My grandmother was a life long Republican. Jewish female Republicans were unheard of in her era. However, it was unthinkable for a person to fall down and not get back up. It was not up to the government to fix her life, you fix your own life.
She did not like commies and thought they were lazy uncooth stupid rable rousers. Commies were born liars and she never bought into into the Rosenberg martyr bit. She loathed the communist manipulation of labor unions, something she was familiar with as a sweatshop worker.
In her advanced years she grew more nervous. I lived with my grandmother in college. She would always get on me about carrying ridiculous ammounts of cash from the mountains. It was not un common for me to return with $300 in small bills. She always was looking through my lugage for a photo or evidence of the girlfriend in the mountains. She happened to be 100% correct, that I did have alive in girlfriend in Upstate NY. I was discreet and the relationship didn't end well. There was alot of Northwind in that girl and the less said the better.
She died a millionaire at almost 100 a few years back. Sadly some of the grandkids she adored did not see her up until the end. I remember meeting my cousin at a gathering. He greeted me warmly, but we had not seen each other in at least a decade. He recognized me and had done well for himself. I asked him "what happened that he stopped going to see grandma". He was embarassed and said he didn't want to remember her in this way and he was highly embarassed. I told him you have a month left to fix it at most, go now. Well my cousin visited my grandmother who was not able to recognize my mother, my sistes, but oddly still recognized me in a different timeline. In her mind I was still a newlywed to a girl she hated. On the brink of death and delerium she recognized her grandson and rallied from the brink of death for an extra week of life. Of course everyone credited my cousin's wife for the miraculous visit. Oddly, the woman who paid for his expensive University and grad school and made the real estate Vice President the man he is today was forgotten. He was embarassed of the woman who worked in sweatshops lived in a Brooklyn and made his new life possible. His new world was country clubs and jet seting over seas to build large tracts of real estate. My grandmother was so proud of him and accepted this neglect. There was always time for the country club, but not a phone call or a visit to a woman that loved him and made his life what it is today. However, he did do the right thing in the end and she passed away a happy woman.
Who are these Jews that the usual suspects claim were devotees of Communism. My grandfather loathed them and sent them to the great gulag. His wife was more interested in running the house and produce and had no intrest in such foolishness. My other grandmother viewed Communism as a mental and moral defect. Her husband was much like Bill Clinton and interested in the flavor of the day. These people did not speak for my family or community I knew growing up. Those who practice the actual faith view Commies as traitors, nuts and not Jewish in any description.
The last episode will be the story of my Uncle the stone cutter. The Holocaust, Communism and Israel's war of Independence in the last installment