When I Was a Child Performer on Yiddish Radio

New York, 1945–46


Waving goodbye to everyone — announcer, orchestra leader, orchestra — I felt happy. A few of the other musicians applauded!

Tati, my father, waited with a big smile. I was almost at the studio door when I heard, Enshuldik mir, efsher kenst du schreiben dein nomen far mir?”

A skinny…

As if a gun had fired in
Their midst.
As if an otherwise unheard signal had given
Them new direction.
As if they suddenly all had business
As if they could not — for one more moment —
Bear each other’s presence.

As if it was an immediate necessity…

And I broke the chain and forced the lock —
and I found her in her nightgown on the floor where she had fallen —
and I covered her and patted her and cooed at her —
and I called 911.

Then the police came and EMS came and
then EMS…

Chalk and summertime and childhood.

Chalked games on sidewalk squares outside the house.
Potsy and Hopscotch and Skelly.

Chalked games that could be rained on.
Chalk was found in pockets for after the rain and was always used to its
nub. No waste.

Chalk meant connection, automatic inclusion. …

It’s no good to get old

This creative nonfiction is based on a loved one of mine, now gone. — BZG

They’re finally taking me over to the cemetery. I’ve been begging them for at least five years to ride me over — just for a little look-see.

I’ve got a pair of dark pants, a…

When I entered his world, I discovered he was more than just my father

It was a long walk to Shul.

“Tati, how much longer? I wish we could see the Shul.” My legs felt like sticks. It was hard to keep up with Tati.

“Honey, we’re just three blocks…

Bernice Zuckerberg Gordon

My musical voyage took me from Yiddish radio child star to operatic soprano. Get my newsletter here: bernice-zuckerberg-gordon.ck.page/7b24f4c32d

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