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Family Fiction: One for the Books

Gita Gordon

At first, the few pages were a short story, and then, day by day, the story became longer and longer, and by the time the baby stopped his morning naps, I had a book. What to do with it? I found an envelope, placed the manuscript in it, looked at the front pages of a book on the shelf for the publisher’s info, wrote his name and address on the envelope, and took it the post office.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

tea seferMy cousins lived next door, so we were always together. I’d have preferred to be home alone, reading, but my mother insisted all that reading wasn’t good for me. I should be outside playing, and I was so lucky to have cousins nearby.

Though close in age, we were so different. They could sit for hours throwing dice and moving small markers around a board. I couldn’t see the point of it. There was no skill to throwing dice. So why the shouts of glee or the cries of despair?

When the weather forced us indoors, their knitting projects came out. Their creations were admired by their mother and mine while I read.

“Such a bookworm you are,” someone would say.

“Why don’t you do something useful like your cousins?” my mother would ask.

“Let her be,” said my aunt. “We all have different talents and abilities.”

We grew up, our lives taking different paths. My husband’s in kollel, their husbands entered their father’s business. They have large homes and household help, we have a small house easily run by ourselves.

Our daughters go to the same school, but I didn’t force a friendship. To my surprise my older daughters, Dina and Tzippi, did visit their cousins from time to time. When I commented on this they laughed.

“Yes, Ima, they always invite us there before tests.”

“It’s a good way to study, explaining things until everything is clear,” Dina added. Tzippi, a year younger, nodded.


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