A moment remembered from Passovers past


March 26, 2021

I have to tell you about my Aunt Ann and Uncle Harry, both first-generation Americans fresh off the boat from Istanbul, Turkey, and Russia. They owned a fish store in Philadelphia. Their fish shop was the end store on a block of row homes in the Jewish neighborhood.

I remember as a little boy, I would avoid the fish store because I didn’t like the smell, but I would go upstairs to Aunt Ann’s and Uncle Harry’s house and would always see the paper bag filled with their day’s receipts sitting somewhere in their home above the store. I also remember the vinyl slipcovers on their sofa. Numerous times, during the Passover holiday, I recall being taken into the bathroom and being thrilled to see the carp swimming in the bathtub, soaking in fresh water until they were harvested for the fresh gefilte fish.

My Aunt Ann made the best gefilte fish … well … my Aunt Dot made a pretty mean gefelte fish, as well. I remember, Aunt Dot used to cook with a soaked, wet-cloth wrapped around her neck to cool down in the kitchen while she was cooking. I haven’t been able to find gefilte fish as good as Aunt Ann’s and Aunt Dot’s ever.

They were great people who I loved dearly. The rich memory of those years burns vivid in my soul. Grandparents have so many rich stories to tell. We have to be careful that it isn’t lost, blown away, by the wisp of a breeze of indifference. Or perhaps lost to our fast modern lifestyles, or the fact that families are spread out and don’t live in close proximity anymore.


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