Page 15 - February 2021
P. 15

                                       STORY OF A PLATE
                                       STORY OF A PLATE
                   where  I  sat  with  kids  of  my  parents’  friends.  When  we  were
                   emigrating,  my  parents  must  have  packed  our  special  plates  very
                   well,  as  they  were  to  be  shipped  to  Vienna,  and  then  to  Israel

                   together with many boxes of our books, and that they didn’t break on
                   the  way  from  Moscow  to  Vienna  and  from  Vienna  to  Tel-Aviv,  and
                   from  Tel-Aviv  to  an  unknown  storage  place,  is  amazing.  Since  we
                   didn’t  have  an  apartment  of  our  own  during  our  year  in  Israel,  we
                   never got to unpack those boxes, and I don’t even know where they
                   had  been  kept  during  that  year  in  Israel,  and  how  they  were  later
                   shipped  to  Italy,  where  we  spent  three  months  waiting  for  our  US
                   visas, and how, at the end of those three months, they were shipped
                   from Rome to New York, and then from New York to Cleveland where
                   we were to spend our first American year…and then, the last lap of
                   the  journey,  from  Cleveland  to  New  York,  in  the  summer  of  1974.  I
                   remember seeing these plates in our apartment in Forest Hills: seeing
                   them  was  a  sign  that  we  have  found  a  home  after  years  of
                   wandering,  and  that  these  special  plates  no  longer  had  to  stay  in
                   boxes  full  of  books.  While  in  our  Moscow  apartment  every  plate
                   stood  separately  in  our  servánt,  like  a  semi-precious  stone  in  a
                   museum,  in  our  New  York  apartment  these  special  plates  were
                   stacked on top of one another in our kitchen cupboard, side by side

                   with  our  regular  dinner  plates.  In  our  New  York  apartment  we  no
                   longer  had  a  servánt,  where  these  plates  could  be  displayed,  in
                   accord with the Moscow custom. We ate from unremarkable plates
                   which  my  parents  bought  in  an  American  store,  and  we  kept  our
                   “Moscow serviz" for special occasions such as birthdays and the New
                   Year’s, in other words, we took them out only five times a year.
                   These Moscow plates stood in our Forest Hills kitchen cupboard for
                   thirty  seven  years  while  my  parents  had  been  living  in  our
                   apartment, and for five years following my father’s and my brother’s
                   passing,  when  no  one  lived  in  our  apartment,  since  my  very  old
                   mother had moved in with me. I couldn’t force myself to part with my
                   parents'  apartment  in  which  I  had  spent  so  many  years  of  my  life,
                   and where my parents had spent so many years of their lives, and so I

                   kept on paying rent, no need to specify how much, New York rent is
                   never small, especially when you’re paying for a

        litterateur                                                                February 2021
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