Allied-Axis

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During the day we roamed the wild, craggy mountain top, five-quart pails tied to our middles, watching for rattlesnakes and copper-heads, trying and failing to find a little shade among the stunted pine trees, and reaching carefully into rock crevices where the juiciest berries hid with the snakes. We didn't mind the rattlers so much since they had the decency to sound a warning. Copperheads, though, lay hidden in the path among dead leaves. Word had spread about the man who had stepped over one and was bitten on the upper thigh.

Jenny aspired to the "intelligentsia"the arts, books, balletto CULTURE. Both in their sixties, they at last had something purposeful to live for, the determination to bury the other. Jenny won out, and then, her work done, she too soon died. All my mother's sisters hated my father. When they came up to the farm one by one during the summer, they nagged my mother about it when they thought they were out of earshot of the children. But Page 17 New York City, circa 1919. Grandma, left rear, and four of her five daughters: Fanny, left front, my mother Sabina, Jenny, and Dora.

At Ellis Island, America welcomed the huddled masses yearning to work for very low wages, sending my mother's four younger sisters at once to the notorious, sweating textile mills of New Bedford, Massachusetts. At the same time, America renamed the hapless immigrants. My father, Heschel, became Harry; my mother, Sheva, blossomed into Sabina; and from somewhere in his muddy subconscious, a minor bureaucrat changed the family name of Peltzmann to the rather odd family name of Felsen. It was 1918, and I was six years old.

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