Helen was Droozy’s first American friend. She was ten years old and liked to play jacks. It was a fun game. The two girls would throw the metal pieces on the floor, toss the ball up in the air and with one bounce pick up two jacks at a time, then three, then four and so on until all the jacks were gone - off to the side. Both girls were very good at this game of skill.

Helen was almost totally deaf and Droozy would have to shout very loud to be heard. Helen could also read lips and so the two girls understood each other, at least in their games they did. They would spend hours together, after school and on weekends. Helen’s deafness didn’t matter much to Droozy since she couldn’t speak English too well and the mistakes she made weren’t noticed by her friend. Helen did, however, notice that the linoleum floors in the Abners’ home were old and scratched. She expressed herself by saying that the floors are weeping. To Droozy that was an interesting way of saying it. To Mrs. Abner it wasn’t. She became upset because she believed she was being criticized, the girl believing that Mrs. Abner didn’t keep her floors clean.

      The floors were scrubbed so clean that Droozys’ mother cooled the cheese cakes, in their large baking pans on the floor every Friday after baking.

Irene Markich was another friend. She was a girl whose father was usually drunk. He would beat Irene and her mother when he had too much to drink.

Droozy and Irene would often play ball. They would bounce a large ball on the floor and see who could do the most bounces. They would also jump rope, a game they both enjoyed. They would say little rhymes like: “Teddy bear, teddy bear turn around, teddy bear teddy bear touch the ground, etc.’ One day when they were bouncing the ball on the cement sidewalk, Irene sang out the following ditty: “Okka, bokka, stona krokka, okka bokka boo, if your father chews tobacco, he’s a dirty Jew.” Droozy was hurt. She thought for a while that she was back in Germany, being persecuted by the Nazis. She wanted to cry, to hit that horrible girl in the face, to beat her to the ground. But, as usual she walked away saying absolutely nothing, just feeling dirty and ashamed.

One day Irene came running up to the Abner house and begged Droozy to come quickly. Irene’s mother was dying and her drunken father had demanded she sit with Mrs. Markich for the night. Droozy did what Irene asked of her and accompanied her to her house. It was a darkened, dingy room that Irene’s mother was in. She was in a large bed covered with a heavy down feather cover. Her breathing was hard and labored. You could hear every breath going in and out of her lungs. It was eerie and frightening. Droozy was listening for those breaths wondering when the last would come. The two girls sat in silence close to the bed waiting for the woman to die. It was hours before Mrs. Markich took her last gasp of air. It came out in a long burst like a whiff of wind before a storm. There was an eerie silence in the room. It was so still. The room seemed like a tomb with that lifeless, stiff contorted face lying on the white pillow. Droozy herself felt like a frozen statue. It seemed an eternity before she went over to Irene to give her a speechless hug, the only consolation she could muster. It was a night long remembered by Droozy. She also learned the lesson that anti-semites will call on you when they need you for something, even if you are Jewish!

Pork Dumplings
Please Don't Eat the Goldfish
Pretty Shoes
Blueberry Cake
The Garden
The Red Rabbit
The Lost Bathing Tickets
What Shall I Do?  The Double Message
Pieces of Gold
Aromas of the Sabbath
The Birth of a Brother
Green Apples
Herr Kübler
The Broken Leg
Boarding School
The American Calendar
Suse Puppe
Shirley Temple Eyes
Kristallnacht Nov. 9, 10, 11
Aunt (Tante) Mathilde
Ice Skates
The Cologne Cathedral
The Escape
A Belgian Holiday
Gas Balloons and the S. S. Washington
The Statue
A Bad Dream
A Pencil Thief
The West Virginia Hills
Ice Cream, Grieben and Baked Spaghetti
The Gypsy’s Song
Venetian Blinds
The Deaf One
Dimmed Lights
Norma Mae
The Spelling Bee
Run, Thief, Run!
The Candy Store
The Birthday Party
Deep, Shallow Waters
Red Riding Hood
Small Mama
Droozy In Love
Eskimo Pies
Apple Picking Time
Working Days
Easter Baskets
Blind Joe
Lessons Learned From Parents
About the Author