February 19, 2006


Anita and I met in Junior High. We were 12 and 13 years old. Best friends for a while, we were in and out of each others homes throughout our teens. As we got older, we saw less and less of each other until we lost complete contact.

Some years ago Anita found me. Very few of my friends made the trip out to Topanga for my Dad's funeral, and even fewer came to the gathering held afterward at my brother's home. But Anita did.

I remember the moment I looked up and saw her. Surprised and touched that she had come to offer her support, we reconnected. She and I don't see too much of each other these days. We don't live close to one another. But I can count on hearing from Anita on a regular basis since the advent of the Internet.

My friend loves to laugh and appreciates a good joke. She regularly forwards humorous stories which circulate on the internet. And once and a while, we exchange bits of news.

Last week I's sent a card to Anita and her husband to wish them a happy anniversary. Yesterday, the mailman handed me letter from her. I eagerly opened the envelope as personal mail is rare these days. After thanking me for the card, she laughingly wrote; "When I saw the envelope, I was hoping it was an engagement or wedding announcement."

Of course that merited a phone call to tell her the good news ... that "yes indeed, there will be a wedding later this year!"

We got to talking. When I asked what she's been up to, she told me she'd been working on genealogy. I was surprised because I thought that our families would be difficult to trace. She said that it is now surprisingly easy, and asked a few questions about my family history.

I told her the little I knew, which wasn't much. My Dad and all my grandparents immigrated to the US from Russia around the turn of the century. Anita asked. "Where in Russia?" I didn't know. All I knew were the stories my grandmothers had shared and a bit of what I now call family legend.

I knew that my Mom's parents came here as teenagers. They were betrothed in Russia as children. My grandmother told me that they 'tipped toed' out of Russia, and traveled though Europe before settling in Minnesota where they married. I mentioned that the story is that they came though Canada. She asked me for my grandparent's names.

Within moments after giving her this information, Anita told me that they came from Odessa. "How do you know that?" She said "it's easy."

As Anita and I continured to chat, she continued her search and then she began to give me more information. She confirmed that Grandma Fanny and Grandpa Oscar did enter though Canada. They appeared in the 1910 Census when they were 18.

On the 1920 Census there was 8 members of there household. She read me the names. There was Grandma and Grandpa, my Mom, Uncle Paul, Aunt Nell, and Aunt Janette ... and two others. I recognized the name of my Great Uncle Bill, but I don't remember a Great Uncle Al.

(Pete said that Odessa was an embarkation point, so it was possible that this was not actually where they came from... But, no one ever mentioned the Ukraine, except my Dad's mom who once told me that the family had originally come from the Ukraine. I always thought that she was talking about passed generations. Odessa did have a large Jewish population at the time, so who knows.)

Anita also found my paternal grandparents and read the names of all nine of their children. Very cool. We marveled at how things had changed ... and wondered how we ever lived without computers?

Posted by Judi at February 19, 2006 10:46 PM | TrackBack
Post a comment

Remember personal info?