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February 12, 1982 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1982-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

14 Friday, February 12, 1982

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

The Writer's Corner: Life's Experiences in Prose and Poetry

(Editor's note: Publish-
ing a miniature com-
munal Who's Who of this
nature is extraordinary.
Yet it merits the serious
attention given it by The
Jewish News. The echoes
of scores of experiences
by a group of Jewish ac-
tivists, the cross-
sectional sources de-
picted in the brief life
stories of the 18 members
of the Writer's Corner of
the Jimmy Prentis Mor-
ris Branch of the Jewish
Community - Center, af-
firm the uniqueness of
the interest created by
this group. of Detroiters
who have already estab-
lished an enviable record
for literary achieve-
ments.)

Compiled by
Norma Goldman and
Allen A. Warsen

Introductory , note by
Allen Warsen:
The authors of these brief
autobiographies are mem-
bers of the Writers Corner of
the Jewish Community
Center of Metro-Detroit.
This "literary group,
whose history is a saga of
creativity, has been under
the idealistic and inspira-
tional leadership of Prof.
Norma Goldman.
The writers, grand-and-
great-grandmothers, are
talented poets and story tel-
lers. Their work reflects
their life experiences and
Jewish heritage.

JEAN H. BROOKS:

Born April 16, 1908 in De-
troit to Goldie R. and Louis
I. Sherman, youngest of
seven children. I went to
Bishop School and High
School of Commerce. I met
my husband Jack and was
married April 7, 1932; we
have two children. After a
marriage of 44 years, my
husband died in 1976. After
working 27 years, I retired
at 62 years of age. My goal
has been to treat everyone
fairly.
EVE DISHELL: Until
the age of 12, I was an intro-
vert, interested only in
reading. Then I was
enrolled in a dramatic club,
Campfire Girls and summer
camp by Blanche Hart, the
first paid professional direc-
tor of the United Jewish
Charities, whose headquar-
ters was at the Hannah
Schloss Building, Detroit's
first Jewish Community
Center. She changed my
life.
My family first lived on
Columbia near Hastings,
followed by Benton, Eliot,
Harper, Holbr000k; my own
homes were on Philadelphia
and Ohio, all in Detroit.
Now I enjoy Oak Park.
My hobbies are contests,
writing poetry and prose,
and dancing. I'm a member
of Writers' Corner and Old
Timers.
FRANCES DRIKER: I
was born in Russia in 1905.
I lost my parents and lived
through war, pogroms, pov-
erty and hunger. I crossed
the Dnester in a canoe in
Romania. it took me 18
months to come to America.

I arrived in Detroit in

1922. I stayed with my
brother and attended night
school, where I met Charles.
We married in 1924, and
have a daughter, two sons
and seven grandchildren.
I have been active in the
Sholem Aleichem Institute
and reading group. In 1950,
I joined Pioneer Women and
was first president of
Kinneret Chapter, a life
member. In 1971, I joined
the Writers' Corner. Now I
attend English classes and
current events at the Lin-
coln Towers, where we live.

ESTHER FRANCES
FRIEDMAN: Manhattan's

eastside was my birthplace.
I was youngest of four chil-
dren. I remember a four-
flight walk-up, three rooms,
stove for heating, cooking
and tub baths. Rooftops,
streets, stoops were my
playground. High school' by
subway was adventure.
My recently deceased
husband was first intro-
duced to me by my father.
Michigan was my honey-
moon and T. stayed. My only
son was born seven years la-
ter. Necessity made me an
employee for 19 years. My
achievements are my won-
derful son and devoted
daughter-in-law, three
beautiful. grandchildren
and 46 years with a grand
guy, Max.

ROSE GOLDSMITH: I

was born in Grodnow, Po-
land, in the year 1900, to a
poor family with nine chil-
dren. When I was seven
years old, my father
enrolled me in a Russian
school. I attended school for
three years; after I finished,
my father found a job for me
in a wholesale dry goods
store.
I worked in the store until
World War I started. Then
we had to move and hide
from the shooting. I re-
member the Russian Revo-
lution, the police chasing
the people on the street.
After a lot of hardship, we
managed to come to the
Goldene Medina in 1920.

GERTRUDE GRAY: I

was born in the early 1900s.
My teen years were the
happiest. At house parties
the wildest we got was "Spin
the Bottle." Jobs were hard
to get, since there was no
Fair Employment Practices
Law. I always remembered
my eighth grade teacher's
advice: "Aim high and be-
lieve yourself capable of
doing great things."
I followed her advice and
joined the Writer's Corner. I
had some articles pub-
lished. A friend said,
"That's great." I have
achieved my goal.
RAE KENDLER: My
world was family, home and
cooking, but when my chil-
dren left, I looked for some-
thing new. I walked into
Harry Slavin's discussion
group 12 years ago and my
life changed. There were
heated debates on world af-
fairs, home affairs and eco-
nomics.
Ben Tait became the sec-
ond leader. He understood'
the needs, wants and de-
sires of seniors. His class
grew larger and larger.

When my husband Leonard
retired, his interests be-
came mine. After 10 years
with the Writers' Corner, I
became editor of "Senior
Happenings" and was the
first woman Volunteer of
the Year of the Jewish
Community Center.

BESSIE ' LOPATIN:

Glasgow, Scotland was my
birthplace in 1914, but I
have resided in New York,
Chicago and Detroit. I was
married in Canada. I lost an
only child aged 34. I sur-
vived this devastating loss
by joining the "Compas-
sionate Friends," a group
for bereaved parents.
My greatest joys are my
husband and darling
granddaughter. I joined the
Jewish Community Center,
became active in several
clubs, made some dear
friends. I have found an
interest in the Writers'
Corner. My goals are keep-
ing busy and learning new
ideas.

REGINA MANTEL: I

am born in Romania in a
town named Hermanstadt.
Population spoke German,
Hungarian and Romanian
languages. I grew up in an
Orthodox home, and mar-
ried a scholar of Talmudic
knowledge. Till the Iron
Guard, German soldiers
came to our country and the
occupation from the Rus-
sians, life was satisfactory.
My four children grew up
in a country with tension. It
affected my children's
health. Waiting 14 years for
an exit visa, we arrived in
the United States and now
know what freedom means.

BERTHA MIS-
HCOVSKY: I was born in

Bialystok, White Russia.
We were 10 children. My
father died very young, and
another sister was born a
few months after his death.
I lived in Europe through
the first war; first Germany
and afterwards Poland
occupied our country.
The Germans confiscated
our copper, which included
our bathtub and water hea-
ter. It was a hard life. Food
was scarce; not a la carte,
but a la card. We were given
ration cards to get the food.
My husband came from
Grajevo, Poland. During the
war, he emigrated to
America. In 1925, he came
to visit his mother and then
I married him in Bialystok.
He returned to America and
sent me papers to join him
by boat. During World War
II, I was in America, but my
heart and soul were in
Europe, as I lost my big fam-
ily there.
Now I live in a senior citi-
zen apartment. As I grow
older, I have become a
writer, a humorist. I joined
the Writers' Corner in the
Jewish Center.

sion for me! Blue moods,
happy happenings, daily
observations, love lyrics,
fun poems are all easily and
quickly created whenever
the mood prevails. My files
are overflowing with choice
bits of verse.
Recently — on popular
demand — I have read my
own writings over WMZK
radio twice weekly for six
weeks.
HILDA REED: Happy
childhood — good parents,
three sisters, one brother —
good memories. I graduated
from high school and reli-
gious school at the same
time. I continued two years
more and then I taught reli-
gious school kindergarten
22 years. I worked as
stenographer and secretary
from graduation until mar-
riage.
I had a happy marriage, a
good man for 42 years. God
took him. I have one son. At
the Jewish Community
Center, the "Writers'
Corner" and "For Women
Only" clubs are my inter-
ests at present — helping
others.

JEAN RUBACH: How

can I write my autobiog-
raphy of 80 years in 75
words? Even at a word a
year, I do not have enough
words. My life has been a
great adventure, having
lived through many histori-
cal events, from the horse
and buggy stage to the in-
credible Space Age.
It has been gratifying to
have seen tremendous
strides in the sciences, cures
for various diseases, pre-
ventive medicines and
transportation. Despite
.heart-rending loss of loved
ones, wars and depressions,
I have been wondrously
happy through youth, mid-
dle age and my senior years.

FANI SIEGEL: I was
born 1901 and I left my roots
in Ladigin, Russia. I became
engaged. My future hus-
band's father was in
America. He sent for the
family, including me. We
came to Baltimore, Md. Our
reception was very warm.
In a short time we got
married and raised two
sons. We struggled to sur-
vive. It didn't interfere with
our happiness. Times
changed. I lost my husband
and a dear granddaughter. I
take the bad with the good.
It is very hard, but I do. My
children give me love and
shelter.
P.S. Thank you, Hebrew
Immigrant Aid Society, for
help in my coming to
America.
ETHEL SILBER: I am a
child of the 20th Century. I
was born' and brought up in
New York City, and moved
to Detroit to complete my
training as a schoolteacher.
After teaching for several
MOLLIE PORTNER years, I married, had two
PITZAK: My first best ef- sons, saw them grow up, and
fort, "A Winter's Reverie," then lost my husband.
Since then, my life has
was published in the
Bridgeport Post in Connec- had its compensations. My
ticut in the winter of 1922. three grandsons are a great
From that time on, writing joy to me. I keep my mind
has become part of my life. active with classes and lec-
Thinking in Yiddish, and tures at. the Jewish Center.
And what changes have I
rhyming in Yiddish is a fas-
cinating vehicle of expres- seen in the world during my

lifetime! We now have in-
stant communication,
mechaniiation, air and
space travel. It is my fervent
hope and prayer that we
will soon have lasting peace
for all mankind.
MINA STONE: The city
of Vilno was Russia when I
was born there. I attended a
Russian school My father
was a rabbi who died before
I was born. I was probably
the only four-year-old
female to stand on the bima
of an Orthodox synagogue
to say Kadish.
In the year 1922, I came to
New York, where I lived
with my uncle's family. My
cousin Lee taught me
English. In 1926 I married
and settled in Detroit. My
husband was a great sports
fan. He passed away in
1956. I have one son.

LILLIAN ZELLMAN:

Writing a mini-bio isn't
easy — like squeezing 140
pounds into size 10 Calvin
jeans! — or looking into the
small end' of binoculars.
Mt. Carmel, Pa.; the min-
ing town in which I was
born in to a family of five
girls and three boys, is just a
blur in my memory. Here
my father was rabbi, mohel
and hazzan to a community
of 40 Jewish families. I must
have inhereted his musical
interests.
Life in Detroit opened up
a whole new world — school,
a career, marriage and fam-
ily — these gave scope and
meaning to my adult life.
Add to these the friendships
and activities
encountered, and I feel de-
eply grateful and fulfilled.

NORMA GOLDMAN

and the Writers' Club:
Twenty-five years ago,
Grace Zellman organized a
Schreibers Winkel, a
Writers' Club, whose mem-
bers gathered each month to
read and prepare for modest
publication their poems, es-
says and short stories.
Grace Zellman encouraged
these first writers to de-
scribe their early lives in
Europe, their migration
pattern, their early days in
America, their families_,
their pains, their plea;
and their loves. The n_____
bers varied from being com-
pletely amateur to being
almost professional.
Some, eager for social
progress, were encouraged
to write to Congressmen,
Senators and even the
President. Some had love
poems waiting for an audi-
ence, poems about nature,
about the seasons; some
produced essays about reli-
gion and philosophy. Al-
most all wrote about their
love for Israel. Many, Euro-
pean born, were writing in
English as an acquired lan-
guage, being fluent in Ger-
man, Polish, Russian, He-
brew and/or Yiddish.
My father, Benjamin
Wynick, was one of the orig-
inal writers. He had always
loved to write verses, each
birthday or holiday being
the occasion for a poem. Be-
fore he died, he was able to
see his poetry in print. He
called the group, not the
Writers' Club, but the "Ar-
thwriters' Club."

Since the death of
Grace Zellman, I have
(Continued on Page 15)

EMMA CASS:

A little house was given me
When I was born, and came to be;
Love and peace, and tender care
shall reign within while I was there.
As- I grew big
the house enlarged
and many things
got camouflaged.
Integrity and truth
and good intention
were pushed aside,
to please the prevalent convention.
Opulence, prestige, decor,
were forging issues more and more.
The simple things were crowded out,
my life had taken a different route.
Now, when I look back
I see that
success has its price to pay,
it takes its toll from day to day.
Excitement and glitter
are not so enticing, .
it is just a cake with flashy icing.
The true values are always there,
if you look, you find them everywhere.

BERNICE KONIKOW:

North Carolina born one February morn—
Inherited sentimental, slowpoke ways
From childhood's Southern days.
Family feeling intense-

Influences, impressions, immense.
To Orthodox grandmother, Goldsboro Temple trace,
Judaism's special place.
Deep love of people molded personality—
Revere education, music, literature—
Hobby composing poetry.
Secretarial skills came in handy—
Worked for Army Captain and Hillel Rabbi: Students
dandy.
Happily married, two children dear—
Participation community activities here.
Conscientious, tolerant, optimistic,
.
Smiling, friendly, idealistic.
Retirement rewarding—with husband still—
Senior expectations, challenges hopefully fulfill.

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