Echoes of Elul Day 2: My Mother

Sarah B. Schweitz

My mother’s name was Alice. She was born into a healthy, smart, well behaved and beautiful family of nine children.

My mother was 5’3” with brown curly hair, smiling eyes, straight white teeth and a dimple on both cheeks. When I was fourteen years old we were told that we looked like sisters even though she was twenty years older than me. She had a calm personality and was educated in home economics both in school and at home. She excelled in cooking, art, math, and sewing, and was awarded ribbons for the best pastries, feta cheese, and kosher wines in Trikala Greece. After WWll, she volunteered for community services to help survivors find their way back home. Her Jewish faith was strong and she always told me “go pray” in times of need.

My grandmother died at 42, leaving my 16-year-old mother to care for the large family – the youngest of which was only 9 months old. My grandfather said she was a great comfort to him because her cooking tasted just like her mothers. She loved children and could calm any crying baby like magic. Her knowledge of business and sewing was helpful for assisting with the books and customers in her father’s store.

At the age of seventeen, my mother had many suitors at the door. The custom of the time dictated that her older sisters would have to marry first. Abraham Barouh was so taken with my mother that he waited three years to marry the love of his life. My grandfather gifted them a house close by for a wedding present. The families remained very connected and close.

I was born in my grandfather’s house surrounded by love and caring. My grandfather called me his “princess.” My mother’s siblings doted on me. I was cherished by my family.

And now, so many years later, in times of need, I am grateful to have the memories of my mother and my childhood to draw upon. Memories of comfort, love and faith…

Comments are closed.