The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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            She’ll never forget growing up in Strawberry Mansion, Philadelphia. Helene lived there for the first fifteen years of her life. Her house was very close to Fairmount Park in a very Jewish neighborhood, where everyone knew each other and was very friendly. Her neighborhood was, put simply, very neighborly. She lived on a narrow street in what seemed to her as a big three-story house. The first floor is where her grandparents lived. Her and her mother lived on the second floor and the third floor was mainly empty unless it was being rented out to someone as an apartment. The house was heated with coal. Helene would watch the coal get delivered every week from the chute under her porch into the basement of the house. In order to get hot water, the boiler in the basement had to be lit, the house only had running cold water. She was an only child who was mainly raised by her grandparents. Her mother and father were divorced. Her mother, who had custody of her, worked a lot so she was left in the care of her grandparents most of the time. They were Russian immigrants and her mother, Rose Cohen, was the first to be born on United States soil. Grandma was a typical grandmother who loved feeding her grandchildren and cooking for them, making sure they were not hungry was the number one priority. If Helene was ever sick, she could count on her Grandmother’s chicken noodle soup made from scratch to help make her feel better. Helene’s favorite meal to come home from school to was sweet and sour meat balls with stuffed cabbage on the side. Being in a Jewish household there was also a lot of gefilta fish. Strawberry Mansion is where Helene met her best friend, Natalie. Helene and Natalie were both in the third grade. Helene was the president of her class, so any new students would be introduced to Helene and she would then show them around the school and make sure that they were okay. A new student moved around the corner from Helene, Natalie. Helene was in charge of making sure that Natalie made friends and knew her way around the school. Helene and Natalie have been friends ever since. They would always play games together after school. Their favorite games to play included Jacks, Monopoly, and Pick up Sticks. After primary school, they went to Girl’s High together and stayed close friends even though they didn’t have any classes together. Helene later went on to study at Temple University to become a teacher, and met her husband, Abraham, on campus.

Strawberry Mansion Memories

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