The Painted Metal Bowl

The painted metal bowl always sat on the table in my grandmother’s living room. It was a relic, carried over from her old country – the “China” stamped on the bottom confirms that. But to a little girl spending time with her beloved grandma, it was special, mostly for the treats held inside. There were brightly colored hard candies and the ever present sugar cubes through which my grandmother sipped tea from a glass, a ritual from her life in Snaityn in the Jewish Pale of Eastern Europe.My grandmother arrived in New York in 1913, joining her husband and brothers. They forged new lives away from the economic hardships and programs. Like so many immigrant of that era, they sent money back over, enabling others in their family to join them. This not only served to release more of their family from poverty and oppression, but ultimately saved their lives, as the one sister and her family left behind, along with most Jews in their town, were killed in the Holocaust.My grandmother wasn’t sentimental about her homeland, and rarely shared any stores from that time and place. She always looked forward, placing her grandchildren at the center of her life. But the memories of her bring me into the wandering historical stream of the Jewish people. I can still hear her heavily accented “Yinglish,” taste those sweet candies, and, in the tradition of my people, I prefer to drink my tea from a glass mug. – Marilyn Heiss

Year: 1960

– Marilyn Heiss

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant