From the American Scene: The Beginnings of the Family Fortune
BROWNSVILLE is now well within the city of New York. The subway runs through Brownsville; it has at least a hundred streets and all are paved; almost all the houses are of brick. Then it was only a wooden village with a few muddy streets that, east, west, and south, led to the fields and marshes of Brooklyn. The people of Brownsville-as they still are-were mostly Jews. At that time, in 1895 or so, they were almost all immigrants, just come from Russia. Young and strong, for the most part, they held their heads high and felt themselves beneath no one, although their own work was humble. But, if they thought themselves the equal of anyone, they thought everyone their equal, and called all men brothers.
My father then was young, too; thin, neither tall nor short; with brown hair and mustache and pale face; in fact, he was rather good-looking. My mother was tall for a woman and strong. Her face was round and her skin somewhat dark, her cheeks ruddy and her cheekbones somewhat high, her nose short; her eyes, like her hair, were dark brown, and bright. But her eyesight was none too good, for she had been earning her living as a seamstress ever since she was little. Her photographs showed her rather homely-and this was always a surprise to those who knew her winsome face.
About the Author