|Yakov, Rimka and|
When Rimka was ten, Yakov returned to Moscow with his new wife. Rimka was fascinated by her newly discovered parents. They were such a handsome couple, and they wanted to take her to live with them in Tashkent, the city in the Asian part of the country. She would've followed them to the Moon!
Tashkent was like nothing she ever experienced, yet she loved all of it: the heat of the streets, and the lush abundance of the gardens, the fruit growing everywhere. There were always people and the music playing at her parents' house. Her dad and step-mother would hug her between them and dance to the latest record.
They lived in a small house in Moscow, sharing the yard with a few other families, their pets and flocks of fowl. Meyer had two brothers, Lev and Samuel, and one sister, Rachel, the undisputed leader of them all. The Grandfather was a grouchy, coughing, ever with his nose in the Talmud, presence. Once Jacob told him, he couldn't catch his boys when he wanted to punish them. The Grandfather consulted the rabbi. The next morning, he and Jacob put the rabbi's advice to a test. Before the kids have woken up, the grown-ups tiptoed to their beds, yanked the blankets off and started to whip them with the belts. The mother, hearing the children's screams and the adults' shouts, flew to her brood's defense. She put herself between the belts and the boys, catching the blows on her back and yelling at her husband, who adored her, to stop the punishment. In a few minutes the boys were sitting in their sheets, still wiping tears and watching their father first hugging his wife in remorse, then admonishing her. She called him a crazy Pollack and kissed his cheeks and shoulders.