Sunday, December 22, 2013

GIFTS part 4


In the years following the end of WW II there was an influx of Eastern European Jewish immigrants into our region of south Jersey.  Many of them went into poultry farming which provided a modest income in those days before the mega farms emerged.  Through his involvement in the local farmers co-op by father became acquainted with many of them, and friends with several of the families.  Chaim, a small wiry man with a face that reflected the pain of losing his wife and son to the concentration camps from which he escaped, purchased a small farm near ours.  He knew little about the business and turned to my father for help and guidance, working on our farm, as he started his own.  Chaim and Riffka, his second wife, became family, and I remember my mother serving him hot tea for lunch in glass cups.   My parents had a similar relationship with another family several miles from our farm.  When their new baby was discovered to have a congenital heart condition my father made several emergency trips to the hospital in Philadelphia, often in the middle of the night.  Those two families adored my parents who gave to them unconditional caring and support. 

No words were ever spoken to me about what they were doing and why.  They were un-necessary.  The lesson was there for me to see and to live.  They had little, but gave abundantly of themselves.

Rifka, Chaim, boy? and my father

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