The reason for writing my memoirs and autobiography is to tell
my descendants how it was living in the Twentieth Century. Our
lives were not dramatic or exciting, as they would have been
had we been members of the underground in France during World
War II. Yet, I think it would be important to know about the
bedrock foundation from where we came. It is to show them that
we had wonderful and interesting lives. We had good and bad experiences
filled with social, financial, and emotional ups and downs. We
were people who were adaptable and capable of deep and profound
involvement in the modern world.
We came from a small rural Jewish "shtetle" background.
You probably read or know about the scions of wealth and power
like the Fords and the Rockefellers. Our family and many others
like us made great strides in a smaller way. We had our own great
development and through education moved up to become an integral
part of the American melting pot society and democracy. One of
the children of the immigrants became a prominent judge in the
Seabury investigation (which exposed the corruption of the Democratic
Party / Tammany Hall, New York City in the 1920's). Another was
instrumental in building the pipeline bringing water to the desert
in Israel. Still another was an important world scientist. Although
we have had members who made interesting achievements, along
with the general laws of nature, we have had our share of people
who have been born with fewer chances for success but we love
and respect them. We also had our failures and tragedies.
As a retired lady who never enjoyed just relaxing or games, I
needed a focus for my energy. I thought it would be a good project
to write about my experiences and create a family portrait. Writing
gave me a kind of ego satisfaction, and filled a certain void
in my life. Rather than hearsay, or a photograph, if something
is written, it assumes a certain validity, authority and even
immortality. I hope we will not be forgotten and that this will
be a legacy for my descendants to read and know something about
the personalities and experiences of their forbearers.
I became involved in this project by reading other people's memoirs.
I also became the inheritor of our family tree from my maternal
grandmother. From my observation I reject Shakespeare's statement
in Julius Caesar when he says: "The evil that men do lives
after them and the good is oft interred in their bones."
I think we remember a little bit of both.
- To have written this memoir, required much time and discipline.
I do not think it will be a best seller but hope it will be informative.
As you read you will come across certain Yiddish expressions
which I feel more poignantly expresses a feeling. (I learned
Yiddish from listening to my parents and grandparents converse
as well as my student days in foster care work in Bronx neighborhoods.)
The theme of this autobiography is to portray vignettes of the
people by telling a little bit of their history, stories, their
personality, and relationships. I don't know if you remember
or know the story of Rashomon. This was a famous Japanese story
in which several people witnessed the same event. When questioned
about what they saw, each person saw something different. So,
if family members disagree with what I wrote, remember this is
my recollection. Also, I believe everyone's experience is of
value to them and those to whom they are related.
My story starts with my grandparents, Hofstadter's / Rosenfeld's,
my parents the Kramers as they provided the setting from which
I came. Then the memoir goes on with my childhood and young adulthood,
the time spent with my husband; the Winefsky / Wynn family and
continues with my children and life on my own. Some of the stories
are my own personal experiences and close family members related
others to me.