Excerpts

omeplace in the back of my mind I remember my Bubbie Itke’s words. Unlike other grandmothers who might say “Have faith,” my Bubbie saw my plight and would tell me, “Mamala, have courage.”

Bubbie and her mother

Wilna, Russia, circa 1917

And so, determined to endure, with the words of my inner Bubbie, “have courage,” like a Greek chorus in my head, I learned to make jokes to keep from crying, to be competent instead of feeling helpless, to be rational instead of feeling all the emotion that I knew could easily engulf me.