Shomernet–thank you Ayala Jonas, and Google helped me to find a full version of my mother’s poem!
Just tried another spelling and found,
And here it is:
Solo 1: De rain been a-rainin’ for a week an’ mo’; It splarshin’ in de gutter, it sousin’ at de do’;
It mumble at de winder, it bumble on de eaves, It make long steppin’s in de honey-shuck leaves.
All: We cyan’t work ‘taters, and we cyan’t thin corn;
Dar’s gwine to be a famine, jes’ as sure as you born;
Dar’s ‘bleeged to be a famine, no mo’, no less—
Solo 1: But de Lawd boss de weather an’ de Lawd know bes’
All: Mo’ rain, Mo’ res’… Mo’ rain, Mo’ res’…
Solo 1: Old Mr. Crow got de croup in his ches’ Old Mrs. Turkey Hen a-drownin’ on her nes’
Dey cyan’t be no harvest whar dy ain’t no hoein’
But de sweet water drummin’;
All: No use to fret, Set peaceful in de cabin while you got de chance to set;
Solo 1: De Lawd brung de rain, an’ de Lawd know bes’.
All: Set right on yo’ backbone and let de Lawd bless
Solo 1: Mo’ rain, Mo’ res’…
All: Mo’ rain, Mo’ res’…
The only reason I found this was that it was a piece performed by the “verse choir”– I don’t think they are a thing anymore–of the Columbia Missouri and David A. Hickan High school. Kewpies are alumni of this high school, and the teacher who is memorialized by publication of the speech book of the Verse Choir was named Helen D. Williams.
According to the website, the author of the piece was Nancy Byrd Turner. Further searching on the name Nancy Byrd Turner does not turn up this poem, so I guess it was not very popular, or there is another Nancy Byrd Turner out there.
This was my mother in her mid 20s, She was born November 1, 1923, and at her 70th birthday party, my aunt Pauline announced that my mother, Charlotte Kaufman, was the first girl child born in the Bronx on that day. Maybe the only girl child born in the Bronx on that day. The Bronx was much less crowded in the ’20s, when my mother was born. It was a blessed place to escape from the Lower East Side and the Garment district, full of parks, vacant lots, places to play. When my mother grew up she roamed the streets with her group of Zionist idealists from Hashomer Hatzair. It was the Depression. There was not a lot of money around. But listen to how these young people amused themselves:
They would take MAJOR walks, starting from the end of the subway lines in the Bronx and walking up to Tibbets Brook Park in Yonkers and back. Ten or twenty miles–before Nikes!
Of course, they would sing.
They would do dramatic choral readings.
Because it’s been unusually rainy here in Palo Alto–we had two rainy days in a row in May, when there is usually no rain all month–there was one poem in particular that my mother would recite that I wish I could find the source of. I’m sure I’m ruining it, and I’d like to get it right. I think it was called:
“Mo rain, mo res'”
and it went:
“The rain been a rainin for a week and more
It mumble at the window and it bumble at the door
Can’t plant taters and you can’t plant corn
Gonna be a famine just as sure as your born
Gonna be a famine, no mo’ no less
But the Lord make the rain and the Lord know best
Mo’ rain, mo res’,
Mo’ rain mo res’.
WHO WROTE IT? I just spent an hour on Google, and can’t find it.
It isn’t Sandburg, or Whitman, or Langston Hughes, or Robert W. Service.
Here’s a review of The Girl on the Wall from the Executive Director of Youth Community Service, a very worthwhile nonprofit that works in the communities of Palo Alto, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, and Woodside. He read my book recently, and asked me to autograph it! The review says:
“Preeva Tramiel’s fascinating memoir, The Girl on the Wall, is a fast-paced, real-life family detective story. Readers of all ages and faith traditions will identify with the author’s journey of discovery to overcome guilt and disappointment to learn new truths about her identity and to learn what it means “to be right on schedule.” Her amazing father, in particular, comes vividly to life, as does the historical period of tragedy and great courage. Thanks to Preeva’s generosity, this very personal story now belongs to all of us.”
– Leif Erickson, executive director, Youth Community Service
Thanks, Leif! Here is how I dedicated his book:
“To Leif and YCS, Good deeds span the generations”
The Importance of After School Activities
When I was growing up in Yonkers, having a peer group activity gave me a welcome escape from my claustrophobic family, and allowed me to create myself in a better image than the one I had in my family. As much as the Holocaust and the guilt over not making up for it shadowed my life, it didn’t matter when I was running a bake sale or writing a play or even hanging around with my friends from summer camp. When I was in junior high school, and even high school, the extracurriculars and peeer group from my summer camp, Habonim Camp Na’aleh, gave me maturity and freedom. Na’aleh‘s still around:
And of course, if you want to order my book, it’s available on Amazon in paperback, for $14.95–leave a review!
And $4.99 for Kindle–leave a review!
NOTES FOR NEXT PASSOVER
The Seder is over, and I’m looking at piles and piles of Kosher for Passover food and ingredients that will probably end up as compost.
What I’d like for Pesach next year is freedom from my compulsive shopping habits.
This is what I need to buy from the Passover aisle to make all my Passover dishes, from matzo balls to apple cake. I am putting it in my blog, dear readers so you can remind me for next year. Is this crowd sourcing my self control or oversharing?
Anyway, no matter HOW big the Safeway and Mollie Stone’s displays are, I only need the following for a 20 person Seder:
ONE box of Matzo farfel. JUST ONE. (I bought two)
Two small boxes of matzo meal. (I bought three)
ONE 32 oz. round can of cake meal. ONE (I bought three)
One can of potato starch, and a small one, even though they never seem to have small cans of potato starch. What’s up with that?
Two boxes of matzo and NO gluten free matzo, even though they taste like big Pringles.
I still would buy two boxes of Shmura matzo, because you never know if they are going to be broken or not.
Now, notes for the kosher food I always buy:
A six pound prime rib, not a ten.
The one little filet of Coho salmon, which weighed in at 1.74 lbs was fine. People liked the cumin, cardamon and orange slices topping. And the plank performed well in the oven on top of the grill pan, so ne need to fire up the BBQ.
Make the fruit salad with mangoes, plums and sweet apples, instead of mangoes, plums and melons. Apples are much smaller than melons, so there would be much less fruit salad.
And maybe it’s time to cut down on the apple cake. ONE 8” pan would have been enough.
ONLY 30 oz. of frozen spinach for the vegetable kugel, NOT 60.
The recipes I use are on my other blog:
What would YOU buy differently on Pesach next year?
Am I oversharing?
The project you see in the pictureon the left happened because my unconscious memory does not forget. Let me explain.
I started cutting fabric to make a ‘flying geese’ pattern block for a quilt for a veteran. I’ve been making quilts for the VA for a few years now, depending on the Jewish Chaplains to give them to whomever needs them.
But when I started quilting back in 2000,
I had a very special project in mind. In the ’80s and ’90s, I had saved many of my husband’s old work trousers from his days at Atari, and deconstructed them with the idea of cutting THEM up into little pieces, making blocks out of them, and and making quilts. But I put those pants away in 1997, when my husband’s Atari days were finished.
But something must have triggered my memory–maybe it was the fact that another pair of dress slacks had bitten the dust, and I had deconstructed, washed, and dried them, and left them in the sewing room. Something in my memory must have said “enough with the Veteran’s quilts already! Your own project is waiting.” And I cut a lot of triangles and squares that were the wrong size for my VA project but the right size to use with the old pants. You can see how wrong of a size my blocks were from the photo on the right. Those blocks were SUPPOSED to be the same size. But I remembered the proportions wrong.
So I’m putting the VA project on the back burner for now, and working with the old pants and new triangles, the way I should have done 15 years ago.