Sunday, May 20, 2007

Tuesday May 20

Took Nettie home from
hospital, She is suspicious
that our father is no more
but for the present I'm
trying talk her out of it.

I hired a woman for
a week to attend Nettie
at home.

Last night and tonight I
said Mishnayes at the
Synagogue across the street
I'm broken in spirit.


Matt's Notes

Papa's efforts to keep his sister Nettie from learning about their father's death continues to be a strange subplot in this story. Nettie had already, at their mother's request, named her newborn son Josele after their father (Joseph) and traditional Jews don't name children after the living -- there's absolutely no way their mother would have suggested it if their father were alive. So, I'm not sure how Papa explained their mother's wishes to Nettie, unless he told her some other relative -- a distant cousin in the old country with a similar name, perhaps -- had died.

Still, if she was "suspicious" she must have asked Papa flat out if their father was dead, so it's hard to imagine how he could "talk her out of it," especially since he was feeling so disoriented. Maybe they had a mutual understanding (he knew that she knew that he knew, etc.) and decided not to acknowledge it. She did, after all, have a newborn child.


Update 5/21

Carol, a reader, writes:

I , too, was puzzled about the fact that Nettie did not know that her father had died, but yet they named the baby after her father. One thought that I had was that at that time I think that it is possible that the mother was not present at the actual Bris and naming...that it was done by men with no women present at the ceremony. If that was the case, then they could have kept the news and the actual name from her. Just a thought.