6 Pages


WithJoseph Rykwert

In this chapter the author recollects the memories of his early life. The author remembers his relationship with his grandmother when she died in 1937. Grandmother presided over what went on round her, deferred to, but not participating. Her presence was the focus of her home. So to him, a sweet and yeasty flavour hangs about Grandma's personality, masking the harsher, domineering reality that he was never, in any case, ever shown. Those gatherings remain in his memory as a more or less continuous, if affectionate, Russian squabble. The voice of the aged rabbinical scholar who led the prayers at his grandmother's was neither steady nor melodious. Abraham Bielinki – Abrasza was the son of his maternal Aunt Rose, who had died in the Spanish flu epidemic of 1921. He was treated as the collective child of Grandmother's family, and had a small room of his own in their flat – but regarded his younger cousins with condescending impatience.