Saturday Jan. 29, 1944
The house in Brooklyn was spacious enough for my grandmother and my own family. It was a lucky break when Abe’s father bought the two-story house in Brooklyn in 1928. A skilled jeweler, he came here from Germany in the early 1900’s. By the 1920’s he was the prosperous owner of his own store and could afford his own home. (Note: the neighborhood is now beyond reach of all but millionaires.) Then stock market crashed in 1929. Who was going to buy jewelry now? Pretty much no one in his Brooklyn neighborhood. The family kept afloat by moving to the second floor and letting out the first. “Bartering” is more accurate. One tenant had a coal business and kept the home supplied with fuel. A later tenant ran a kosher deli. He paid a nominal fee supplemented with cold cuts. Really! By the time the war broke out, my grandmother was a widow and had reclaimed the first floor for family members cut loose from other moorings by wartime deployments. Everyone pitched in with money, food, housecleaning, and other services. That was the way it was in American – and still is in some places.