Tag Archives: Food

Yesterday, Memories (non-fiction)


In Memory

My mother passed away on October 14th, 2012. One major reason I haven’t been writing, or that my meager attempts have been sombre. My father died on October 15th, 1999, which has still sent shivers through me, that they parted this earth one calendar day apart (although thirteen years passed).

It’s Halloween, a holiday she did enjoy, seeing all the children in their costumes, playing like she was afraid of the “scary” ones, cooing over the very cute tots and babies coming out for their first Trick or Treating, and giving out bags of candy (each bag had to be the same, piece by piece, number by number, so she felt no child felt cheated).  It’s been one of my favorite holidays as well…not so much this year.

She was “known” in our family as the “family historian,” being able to recall all the family stories, connections, etc. This she did orally, rarely writing anything down. Which is a shame: those stories now only reside in the memories of those who listened, and if we don’t write them down, they’ll be gone.

I did find her beginning attempts to write some of the history down, colored through her lens. I’m posting it here where I normally write my own fiction. Not sure when/if I’ll really come back to this blog with any real attention. I hope you enjoy her early memories.

Yesterday, Memories…by

Edith A. Nager: 1926-2012

(1)          My mother and father met and married in Odessa, Russia. Papa had served in the Russian Army for five years and then was discharged. I have a picture of him in his uniform. He was quite dashing. He came to America first and then sent for my mother. This was before the First World War

(2)          The day I was born my father declared it a holiday. He kept my three oldest brothers home from school. The other two were too young for school. There were five boys and now me. The truant officer came to the house and asked why they were home, and Papa said: “After five boys, a girl was born!” That fine gentleman stayed and helped Papa celebrate.

                Mama said, and I quote her: “This is it! If it’s another boy, no more!” Papa ran through the building knocking on doors to tell them the good news. He finally had a daughter.


(3)          Saturdays, my mother did not cook. Papa said it was Mama’s time off. He went to the kosher deli and bought Pastrami, Corned Beef, Specials (knockwursts), Salami, Knobelwurst (very garlicky salami), and rye bread. The mustard came in paper cones. Oh my, how delicious it all was. Mama made the potato salad.

                Saturday evening after sundown was the time to turn on the radio and listen to station WEVD. It was Jewish music and singing. It was OK, but Sunday morning was better. Same station, but it was all about “Troubles of People” and “The Bintel Brief,” as well as more music and singing.

                The “Troubles of People” were some of the saddest tales you could hear. Husbands came to the Promised Land first and became Americanized. They met other women, forgetting about the wives and children back home. Sometimes it was a three hankie story.


(4)          Sunday brunch was out of this world. Bagels, bialys, pumpernickel bread, sweet butter, cream cheese, Muenster & farmer cheese; Belly lox, a large smoked white fish, and pickled herring in cream sauce with onions. Of course, a large salad: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radishes and green pepper. We ate and talked. Everyone showed up for this feast. My brothers: Lou, Phil, Ezra, Sam, Bernie and me…and of course, Mama and Papa.


(5)          My brother Bernie gave me a lot of grief. He was the youngest of the boys. He used to tell me I smelled like a flower: it was called a stink weed. One day, he came home from school and went to the medicine cabinet. He took out a box of Feenamint. He got a box of Chicklet’s Gum and replaced it with the laxative. Some of the boys in school were giving him a hard time, so he got even. They never bothered him again. We gave him a new name: we called him “Dr. Fleckel.”


(6)          Walking with a group of girls and boys along the Gran Concourse to Fordham Road you could window shop. The stores stayed open till 9:00 p.m. We went to Rushmyers on University Avenue for Ice Cream in the summer and hot chocolate in the winter. We’d also go to 161st Street to Addie Valin’s and the Roxey Deli.

                Trolley cars in the summer, the sides were heavy metal mesh so you would feel cool. It cost five cents each way and some of us would take a ride in the evening. We went all the way to Throgs Neck and back. This was before A.C.

Jung, @Heart (The #AtoZChallenge)


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge during the month of April

Welcome to… The Apartment Building


“In sleep, fantasy takes the form of dreams. But in waking life, too, we continue to dream beneath the threshold of consciousness, especially when under the influence of repressed or other unconscious complexes.”

Carl Jung, 1929

It’s 3:42 am, and everyone in Swan Rise Apartments is asleep. That will change, soon enough, with a handful of middle of the night trips to the bathroom, a baby’s cry, some alarms to grumble awake those early to rise, and one unexpected and unwanted phone call.

But, at 3:42 am, dreams come.


A dark figure flits across the hallway, careening into the walls and falls, gets up, falls again. It drags itself along and Dotty finds herself sitting at her old kitchen table with a cup in her hand, the dark figure sitting across from her. She is sure it’s a man, but too fuzzy to make out. She knows she is laughing, but she feels embarrassed. She’s being judged, she knows it, and there is nothing she can do to stop it. Dotty wants to stop laughing, but doesn’t know how.

Scott is falling. His hair moves upwards, his hands reaching for the black sky, as backwards he tumbles down. There’s a pressure on his chest. Scott is talking, his day at work flinging itself out of his mouth. He turns his head to the left and there is a reflection of the sun, dimming.

Growl Run Run Run Tear at the food chasing eat eat eat eat eat eat eat….throw it…throw it…throw itttttt…….


Bent, over a grave of yellow flowers, he wipes petals away with tears. He picks up  the book and it is sharp, jagged, and it leaves his hand in an arc over a body of steaming water and is gone…entwined they/he/she grope and their skin is hot in patches…there is a locked door….there is a door…there is…

Floating, wind moves the unseen buoyed vessel along. It’s blowing tree branches, and leaves are swaying in a back and forth motion, and rain droplets sting lightly along unclad skin. She is spread eagle, and feels alternating shivers and spikes as they hit. She knows she was talking to someone, but there is no foundation for who or about what.

lick lick lick sCRATch scratch scratCHscratchhh….run run run RUn…throw the damn thing…throw the damn thing…


Dotty and Scott arrive at the elevator at just about the same exact time, on different floors. He inwardly curses that the elevator went up past him, but he waits for it to return. Reaching down, he pets the top of his dog’s  head, and gets his wrist licked in return.

Rex’s tail thumps on the tile floor.

The door opens, and Dotty is in front of the door with her shopping cart filled to the brim with laundry. Rex wants to rush in but is held back. He whines while Dotty narrows her eyes and purses her tight thin lips. She moves aside, and Scott and Rex enter.

Scott has to say “Sit!” three times before the command filters in. Rex just wants a scratch.

They reach the ground floor and the door opens. Rex jumps up but Dotty pushes ahead, squeaking her cart along. She and Scott say “Have a nice day” to each other, but…

Rex has already forgotten her.