all parents, Papa and Mama were Droozy’s first teachers. Most of the time they
were right, and of course they were good and wanted the best for their children.
parents taught her to pray at an early age. She would say her morning prayer:
“Mode Ani” every morning, and the “Schema,” the evening prayer, every
night. It made her feel good and safe. She felt secure that God was watching
over her. She was taught not to steal or lie, another good lesson. She learned
the ten commandments. She had memorized them all, although she did not know what
some of them meant. She learned to stay away from mean people, but if she had to
deal with them, to bribe them, to give them something that would keep them from
their evil ways. Mama would tell her, “You must give the mean
dog two bones to keep him from biting.” The child was also taught to not beg,
and when offered something she learned to say “no, thank you” three times
before she could accept it. That was very hard, especially when someone offered
her cookies. It also didn’t work very often since some people would only offer
something once and when Droozy refused they would not offer it again.
was taught to work hard, that it is a “Nevere”, a sin, to be lazy and to
earn money and not to depend on other people to give you things or to do your
job for you. Mama had a proverb that she recited: “Never put off till tomorrow
what you can do today,” and “tomorrow, tomorrow, please not today, say all
the lazy people,” and “long threads, lazy girls,” meaning that if you use
a very long thread to sew something, it is because you are too lazy to thread
the needle often. Mama also taught that it is a good deed to give without being
asked; to hand a sick person a drink of water; to give to those who cannot give
anything back to you and not to expect things from others, but to be pleasantly
surprised when you do get something.
taught Droozy to be peaceful, that “sholom,” keeping the peace, is very
important. He taught about “loshon horah,” not to speak evil about people,
especially not if they are not present and cannot defend themselves; to give
charity to those in need and to always be helpful. He taught the lesson of
believing in God and to be religious.
was one lesson Droozy ignored when she grew up. Papa had told her that she
should not go to college, but rather to go to work to earn money because:
“Refugee children have no business on college,” they should earn as much
money as possible and not waste time sitting in school benches. Papa meant well,
he did not understand the American way, that through attending schools a person
gains knowledge and will get better jobs.
were many more lessons that Droozy learned: To be kind to others, to treat the
poor and others the same, to be helpful and to give to those in need.
Just like Mr. Cartwright, the British social worker who had saved her family’s life so many years ago, Droozy became a social worker when she grew up. Like her mother before her, she got married and had three beautiful children of her own.