Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355
© May 24, 2011
First Bedtime Story for MJ, by her or his (currently deceased) Great-Grandfather Israel, to the (as yet) unborn great-grandchild, as told to, once upon a time, the present grandfather-to-be.
On the first day of Spring, in 1912, I was in the same situation as you are right now in May 2010. Meaning, I was comfortably parked in my mom’s tummy at the end of my first three months.
I don’t remember that time, and you won’t either, but since I’m no longer walking the Earth, and you aren’t born yet, we are also both in the same sort of situation of not being able to communicate directly with each other. No matter.
I have subconsciously willed my son, your grandfather, Grampa Bob, to write this story for you, because one day he will tell it to you, and after that you will read it for yourself. If stories aren’t written down especially family history stories, they just float away into the clouds. I can’t take a chance with this one, since it is actually centered on you, MJ. It has love, war, danger, “faraway places with strange sounding names”, some twists and turns and a pretty good ending, too, because I don’t want to let my great-grandchild down.
I told my son many stories when he was a small boy, because I am a story teller, as was my father Jacob, before me. I lived long enough to see your Grampa Bob become a pretty good story teller himself. Must be in the blood. It could be that you will be one, too, one day. Well, here’s a tip about that, MJ:
People love a good story. Not too long, with a good beginning, a solid middle, and an ending worth waiting for. This story has all that, and you can start practicing writing your own stories, after reading this one about your ancestors, when you begin to feel the need to write them down. And you will. Just wait. Because I will be waiting for you to get there, MJ, and I have all the time in the world.
Here we go:
I was born on the first day of Autumn in 1912, on the West Side of Chicago. My mom and dad, Rose and Jacob, were immigrants, just like your mom Nicole’s parents are. Everyone in my part of Chicago was from some other country. This was a time when there were still horses pulling wagons all over Chicago, with people selling things out of the back of them. There were places for those horses to drink some cool water on hot days all over the city, too.
Your Great-Great Grampa Jacob was a carpenter from Belarussia, from a town called Megilev, and he had a tough time learning English, like a lot of immigrants did, and probably still do. He came to America in 1901. After meeting and marrying his wife, Rose, he came to Chicago in 1915. He’d go down to a place where people were hiring carpenters and hold up a hammer and saw, so the people hiring could see what kind of work he could do. He was a very skilled carpenter, born in 1882. His wife Rose, born in 1885, stayed home taking care of me, my brother Milty and my sisters Molly, Estelle and Sylvia, all your great-great aunts and uncle. Rose was from Lithuania and she was an orphan. I was born in Newport, Kentucky, a long, long way from Lithuania and Belarussia!
A couple of years after I was born, there was a very big war in Europe, fought all over Europe by giant armies, first called The Great War, and then, unfortunately, World War One. People who make wars happen like to give them names and numbers, so the people who come along later don’t mix them up and get confused.
(Read on …)