How Mama Came to Run the Farm

It was a short time after World War II had ended that matters on the farm changed drastically.  It came about when Papa could no longer do any lifting.

Before Papa moved the family from the Bronx tenement in 1937, Papa got a hernia.  He told us about it many times as we boys grew up.

After Papa was discharged from the U.S. Army, he worked in the family shoe store.  This was not to his liking, for he wanted to be his own boss. 

Zeyde (that’s what we called Mama’s father) was a house painter.  Papa decided he wanted to be his own boss, and all that he needed to be a painting contractor was a few paintbrushes, some cloths to spread out and a ladder.

As Papa told the story, one day he fell off of the ladder and as he fell his feet were spread apart tearing his insides.  From then on he had to wear a kile bendl.  In English we call it a truss.

I still can visualize this two-inch wide, gray, thick band that had a big knob the size of a fist.  Papa pushed on the knob that was put over the bulge in his belly.  This kept the tear from pushing out and getting larger—it worked for many years.

As the hernia became more pronounced and caused more problems, it was obvious that Papa had to have the operation to mend the tear.  At that time, there was no mesh to be used or the Canadian Schultice Method where one went to Toronto and came back a short while after.

Papa was told that there would be a period of at least six months with no lifting.  After moping for a few days, Papa went to New York City and met a Mr. Kane who had contacts with the Jewish Agricultural Society.  It was at a time when Jewish survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust came to America.  Many did not speak English and had little money.

Papa got his real estate salesman’s license and would meet the “refugees” at the train in Flemington Junction. 

Papa showed them chicken farms and the “Society” gave the money for the mortgage.  It lasted for a few years until the influx dried up.

Sally and Fishl were married in 1947 (he was 20 and Sally 18).  He had just graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Poultry Husbandry. 

The twins were a year younger and Semele was still in elementary school.  It was at this time that Mama was in charge of running the farm—even though Papa still wanted things done his way.