Bryan Bloom-Life and Times of a Single Mom.docx

Bryan Bloom-Life and Times of a Single Mom.docx - The Life...

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The Life and Times of a Single Mom Bryan Bloom Dr. Charles DeMotte American Society SOC 100
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My Mother, Toby Engelman was born October 1st in the Canarsie Neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The year is 1961 and Canarsie is a much different place than it is now. She works as a school secretary in a high school in the neighborhood she grew up in. Now it’s a predominantly African-American and Hispanic area. When she was growing up the area was filled with Jewish and Italian families. Some were newer to America than others. My Mother’s family had already been in the country for decades. Her own parents were both first generation children of Polish Jews. Unlike many immigrants of the time, my mother’s family was fortunate to have left Europe only for better opportunities in and to join family that had already immigrated to America. This is often referred to as “chain migration” (JWA). One family member will start out in the new country acquiring lodging and work. Then they would send money or sometimes just the ticket itself for the next family member to join them. Many immigrants in my grandparent’s time were coming to America to escape World War II and Nazi occupations. Growing up my mother enjoyed a generally stable and prosperous home life. During her childhood her and her two brothers Barry and Marc went to the local public school with other neighborhood children. This was not a place where different nationalities kept to themselves. These children were born American and grew up and played together out in the streets without parental supervision. My Uncle Barry recalls having to keep an eye on his two younger siblings, as he was the oldest. Besides making sure they stayed out of serious trouble though, they were mostly left to their own devices. Both my uncles stated that at the time there were no concerns about pedophiles or kidnappers back then. There was never anything like that on the news or in the newspapers. You played on the street with your friends until the streetlights came on, and then you had to come inside. In hindsight my uncles also speculated they were 1
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even luckier as young boys. Being Jewish meant they did not even have the distant risk of becoming victims of the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church that would only come to light many years later. In addition, my grandparents were very lucky that they had their children when they did, because their sons were far too young to be drafted into the looming Vietnam War. They would not have to worry that their son’s draft numbers would be called and that they would be sent off to a distant war in Asia. Some of my grandparent’s neighbors were subject to this unfortunate situation. Only a few would have to sit Shiva (a traditional Jewish period of mourning) after burying their sons who had died in the war. My mother recalls asking her mother why the neighbors in mourning were wearing a torn jacket or ribbon. Explaining the traditions of the religion would be the first time my mother had to learn about death.
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