Solomon Simon, the American Yiddish Writer



when an immigrant is comes here to our country they can appreciate the freedom that we have and he did and he was very very much an America file when he came to this country chose July 4th as his birthday since you always have a holiday when you're Jewish you have a holiday connected with your birthday and he wanted to be really American so he chose July 4th he loved America he loved it he couldn't believe the level of freedom he found here when he came he couldn't believe how Jews could really live in a country that accepted and where they would be accepted the way they were it was it was marvelous for him he just loved it and he and when anyone criticized America or if they became a communist because there would be a better way to do it here my communism he would scold them I mean but really hated the idea that anybody would compare the United States to Russia which he thought was suggest the most horrible he knew of and he used to tell was one little story he said you know America and Russia are very different in one respect at all you say well what was I heard the story many times what was it Papa he say well when it comes to building a railroad both countries are terribly corrupt he said the difference is that in Russia the railroad never gets built and in the United States it does bear in mind that when he came here he'd been trained to be an Orthodox rabbi and here in la Vega de draak whom he writes about himself I left home when I was 13 years old for almost five years I wanted from one Talmudic Academy to another and lived practically on a dull at the age of 18 I arrived in the United States and went through all the drudgery and privation of the immigrant I began to earn a living at the age of 30 I bought my own home it was a great emotional experience my own piece of land in my own home true or small a lot of ground 20 by a hundred not much of a backyard there was room for one tree only the garden in front had room for one peony I planted that on this piece of ground my home this is where I would always find a spring of living waters every night when I returned my children were there waiting for me the house and its fullness all of it was an entity by itself she his wife the children the accumulated modest possessions my steady hunger for her my delight in the children all these were a reflection an actual omission of eternal absolute reality so there you have him in full bloom as a secular Jew absorbed in the reality of life in America and what a change from the way he was raised I remember their house in Brooklyn which is the house where my mother grew up I went back there one day to look at it a couple years ago it's interesting to see the neighborhood it was a little detached on both sides brick house in Brooklyn it had a little stoop in the front that we used to play soup bowl on actually and a little garden in the front it was Flatbush and remember walking in and there was a foyer like a little vestibule and you'd come in and then there's the living room and they'd the old big old TV like black-and-white TV then to the side there was an area with a bay window he had his desk there he would always be working there he always watched the news so there's always that 6 o'clock news on most of the time that I remember there was a table in the living room that was his desk then later he set up an office in the basement but it was basically in the middle of the house that he sat down at his desk and that would be like by this time eight nine o'clock and he'd worked till 3:00 4:00 o'clock in the morning on his writing the desk hardly could be said to hold what he was doing there of course there was a library downstairs in the basement of a most elaborate Jewish library with a lot of Talmudic materials there were just walls like shelves and every shelf was filled with all kinds of books and they were indifferently Yiddish but Hebrew English the kitchen was in the back of the house so when you first walked in it was like the library area if you will kind of he'd have his desk in the front by the window when we would have satyrs there it would take up the there was so there was really two rooms kind of in a rectangular shape deep and you'd have the first room and then the second room but they would have a table the size of both rooms and my grandmother would cook everything from scratch and then the neighborhood kids I he was such a big personality even though he was a dentist he carried candy around so they would see him the neighborhood children they would come talk to Simon dr. Simon and he'd give them chewing gum not sugarless like regularly was always handing this out to them and again I was thinking that's interesting what you resent is why are you giving all these kids candy you

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