I grew up on East 105th Street, in Cleveland, Ohio. I went to Gracemont Elementary school. My mother would bring me a “snack” at recess because we lived just a block and a half from Gracemont. The snack consisted of an apple, a scrambled egg sandwich, cookies, potato chips and a drink. This was atten thirty in the morning. I’d walk home for lunch bytwelve fifteen! Mama always took care of me.
By the time I was nine years old I spoke fluent Yiddish because my grandmother who half raised me spoke only Russian and Yiddish. I loved her, so I learned to speak Yiddish. She only spoke a smattering of Russian at the time. I was the boy wonder of her life! She would show me off to all of her friends. We were inseparable.
All of my major Jewish relatives lived on 105th street. My uncle Sam, the tailor, uncle Lester, Manya, my cousin Hy and his family, and aunt Jenny.
Cousin Hy was a hard worker and he would come to our house for Lunch as I got older, and Mama would give him hot corned beef sandwiches with dill pickles. He loved classical music as I did, and he’d listen to some of my recordings as he ate, and would shut his eyes and nod his head in almost a swoon.
Ah! East 105th, I remember it well.