My great grandparents immigrated to the United States in the late 1800’s to escape the pogroms in Eastern Europe. Once here, they had three girls, including my grandmother, Edith Berger Sinel. Having skipped a grade, she and her older sister graduated high school the same year. Their father said, “Girls, I can buy a house or I can send you to college.” They said, “Papa, you can always buy a house, but we want to go to college now.” My Memee and my great aunt Ruth were two of ten Jewish girls admitted to Pembroke’s (now Brown University) class of 1932. The quota system allowed a maximum of ten Jews in one class. My grandmother majored in German, but because of the Nazis were beginning their political ascent in Germany, she cancelled her plans to study there upon graduation.
In the 1960’s my grandfather passed away suddenly. leaving my grandmother to raise two boys and to run the family scrap metal business, which her father established in 1916. That business has provided for my family for a century. My dad finally retired this year. My uncle, my brother, and a cousin still work work there.
For two weeks, every day after preschool pick-up, before lunch, I took my daughters, ages two and four canvassing to get out the vote. We would get to anywhere from four to ten houses at a time, but we made steady progress. I think my grandmother would be proud.