…was love, laughter, dirty dishes, foods of all kinds and, of course, noshes. Her split pea soup with thin slices of frankfurt are (kosher, of course) was a specialty which brought my aunts and uncle down to our apartment to eat. They would bring some up to Grandma Rose and Grandpa Jacob when they weren’t able to walk down and come to eat.
… was mama urging me to eat “eat, bubbele. How else are you going to grow up big and strong?” That often came with the bribe that she would make me her fabulous orange or lemon sponge cake. They were made from scratch with little pieces of orange or lemon rind. And my sister Sylvia would help her, and learn.
… on certain evenings when Dad was home, Syl and I would still be required to wash and dry the dishes. Syl would wash and I would dry. I would put the dried dishes on the table because I couldn’t reach the high kitchen cabinets. When Mom and Dad did the dishes, they had the radio on and when certain songs came on they would stop what they were doing and dance around the kitchen. I remember the smiles and love in their eyes.
… there was always a nosh of fruit on the table and sometimes Viennese pastries sent down from Grandma’s kitchen. This sometimes came down the dumbwaiter which was used in the apartment building for sending garbage down to the superintendent to be put in the trash barrels. Since my grandparents lived directly above us, sometimes the food would be carefully and precisely wrapped and, only after boiling hot water with splashed all over the wooden platforms, the food would be placed to be pulled up or down. On occasion I would take a joy ride in it. That was the advantage of being lightweight and skinny.
… when Syl and I wanted to get out of doing the dishes, she would paint her fingernails and since they were wet she would say she couldn’t do it. I would moan about not having enough time to do my homework. It didn’t work. Mom would say, ”You poor kids!” And Dad would say, “You’re doing a good job. Keep it up!
In my mother’s kitchen was… Me.