My Heritage

By Jason Freedberg

My Great-Grandmother was an amazing person. Her name was Regina Fox, but she was better known as my Bubbie.

Bubbie had an extraordinary life. She was born on a farm in Humenne, Hungary in 1898. Her family was very wealthy. Her Dad, Leopold Salamon, owned a grocery store and saloon. People from all over the village would pay to be entertained and to drink the liquor hand-made from my great-great grandfather, Leopold. Bubbie’s mom, Julie (Yidas), was a mother of two. She died after Bubbie was born. Leopold married a new woman, and had five more boys and two more girls. Bubbie was the second-oldest. She had the most responsibility, though. She was the one who brought out the liquor to the Town’s people and she was the one who had to do the work on the farm, and pick the day’s crops.

My Great-Grandmother had loads of talents. Here is what I think is my Bubbie’s amazing talents: Bubbie had a love for cooking (at least that’s what her daughter said). She would boil noodles for 5 hours and put cold cottage cheese on them. She served this to my Father and called this "noodles and cheese." What I really think is amazing is my Bubbie was able to memorize the languages of Slovak, Hungarian, Yiddish, Hebrew, German, and English. Do you think you can do that? She loved to garden, bake, and crochet. What I think she liked the most was to bathe in the sun.

Have you ever told anyone your worst fear? Well, here’s my Great-Grandmother’s – TOADS! I know it sounds crazy. But after all she’s been through you wouldn’t be scared of much either!

After World War I, Hungary lost the war. The name of Hungary was changed to Czechoslovakia and the language was switched from Hungarian to Slovak. As soon as that happened, the Town’s people lost all their money and the Salamon’s business went down the drain with all their wealth. The new government did not like Jewish people. So, when Bubbie was 22, she decided to leave Czechoslovakia and went to Chicago, Illinois in 1920. Bubbie took along one of her half-brothers named Aaron (Unc). Two other half-brothers went to Israel.

Hitler was the ruler of Germany during World War II, and was trying to kill all of the Jews just because of their religion. Unfortunately, Hitler wiped out Bubbie’s village and killed the rest of my Great-grandmother’s family in a gas chamber. (A gas chamber is a room where they lock people in a chamber and spew poisoness gasses into the air.)

In Bubbie’s lifetime, she saw so many changes in the world. She lived through the Holocaust. She was there when Albert Einstein founded electricity. She was there when the first plane flew and when the first car was run. Bubbie was there when the first radio was heard and spoke in one of the first telephones. Bubbie saw the first television show ever. Bubbie lived through the Great Depression.

A year and a half ago, I saw my Bubbie pass away. She was 106 years old, and I think she wanted to die. She had lived through so much and I don’t think she wanted to live her life anymore. When she passed away, the last move she made was kissing me and my sister, Rachel, on the forehead. I was the 10th, out of 11 Great-Grandchildren of Bubbie’s.

` What I will always remember about Bubbie is her web and sloppy kisses, her love for Jewish music, and craving for candy. I have learned so much about my heritage from Bubbie. But the best part was I even got to know her!

(Jason is 10 years old and lives in Tucson, Arizona)