fig jam

I’ve been living in Sunset Park Brooklyn for about ten years. Mary was my next door neighbor until she needed to go and live with her daughter a couple of years ago. Mary was 80 years old when we moved here. She would go to Key food with her cart and always bring something back for my family. Once it was a gallon of vanilla Ice cream, another time it was a gallon of bleach. You know buy one get one. I didn’t want to tell her that I don’t use bleach -for one thing I didn’t feel like preaching to Mary about the environment. She’d been through it all. Mary had to move from her cold water flat in downtown Manhattan because they were building the Word Trade Center towers. Some old friend of hers from the village in Czechoslavakia had bought up a few houses in Sunset Park and sold one to her and her husband Mike. They moved in in 1957 -the year I was born. She raised her three children in the house and for many years kept boarders on the top floor so they could pay the mortgage. Mary also worked at night cleaning office buildings. I don’t know when she slept. there was a half an hour lag between the time Mike had to leave for work and Mary would come home in the morning. She loved to tell me the story of walking up the street from the subway to see her kids on the stoop crying with broken bottles of milk all over. They woke up and were trying to feed the neighborhood cats with the milk the milkman had left. No babysitters, no nannies, no family around to help out. Mary left home at 16 and came to this country and never went back home again except for one visit many years later. Well Mary passed away about a month ago. She has a fig tree in her back yard and I picked all the ripe ones and made some jam. I really miss her. She would have loved that fig jam on her babka. Rest peacefully dear friend.

Mary
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4 Responses to fig jam

  1. Kate says:

    Oh no! I didn’t know Mary died… She was such a sweet lady.

  2. marjorie says:

    Mary loved you kids. She was a sweet neighbor, wasn’t she?

  3. Laura says:

    Beautiful- We are so lucky to have known her.
    Rest in peace, Mary.

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