Friday, November 16, 2007

Little Yente on the Prairie

Today is the Centennial of Oklahoma Statehood, something that I approach with mostly distant and slightly mixed feelings. Above is a shot of my paternal grandmother in the Oklahoma territory around 1901. And below is the source image of her with her parents and siblings, the Matzenbachers of Noble, Oklahoma, part of the contentious 1889 land run. They participated in this event, having made a journey mostly by train from the Lower East Side. Like most assimilated Jews of the Great Plains, they made a clean break with the past when they crossed Delancey Street and headed west. Looking into the eyes of the little girl that my mother would eventually call "the Little Yente on the Prairie," I can't help but wonder what secrets she suppressed and which ones she held on to until the grave.

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5 Comments:

At 10:46 AM, Blogger cb said...

You know it would have been scary to pick up and just leave all you knew behind to become a 'pioneer'.

And a Jewish pioneer at that!

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

CB - A century later I did the same going to both coasts and sort of becoming a dis-assimilated Jew if there is such a thing.

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger Pod said...

she is most beguiling.....

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger kimy said...

love the post (what a surprise) - I just get lost in these old photos. very adventurous ancestors you have to have headed out to the oklahoma territory at that time. you come by your adventurous and open spirit quite naturally! tradition, tradition, TRADITION! (da da da da da da....)

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Eva the Deadbeat said...

Oh, there are some secrets in there, no doubt. Haunting eyes...

 

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