Pepper and Salt:
Because he had chosen to live within walking distance of his jewelry store my father was a DP. This was in the Coolidge era when even the West Bronx contained its saving remnant, but in our diaspora of neat private houses, gray brick apartment buildings, and vast stretches of weedy lots, communion was a rare event. A chance encounter in the street, a casual chat on a park bench and a brief sholom—these were too uncertain to be institutionalized. The nearest synagogue lay a good mile to the east, and except for Mr. Katz, who cleaned, pressed, and altered in the taxpayer around the corner, my father knew nobody to whom he could talk man to man. As a result he was lonely and morose, a condition never more evident than on Sunday mornings when, insulated against everything but his memories, he would sit for hours reading and rereading the Forward in the front parlor.
On one such morning, however, as I sprawled on the floor examining the sports page of the Home News, the silence was rudely broken by a resounding whack on the arm of my father’s chair. “Joey,” he announced in a voice trembling with emotion, “I’m going to buy you a new suit!”
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