In early 2013, while reading Shifra’s Story, written by my book club colleague, I recalled writing some of Kalman’s Story and discovered my handwritten pages, likely written around 1980. This story is my recollection of how my grandfather, my Pa, started a journey at the turn of the 20th century from Must, Poland, that led him, eventually, to the United States. With the passing during the last days of 2012 of Pa’s precious daughter, who was my dear mother, I treasure the many family stories that live in my memory. I will do my part, now, to preserve them by writing what I consider to be sacred texts.
“Mmmm. Ouch. Ugh.” moaned Kalman. His little legs ached as he ran. His little arms hurt as they held on to the wagon. Running—literally—to freedom and safety meant holding on to the back of the eggman’s horse-drawn wagon and keeping up with a horse’s four legs that were much longer and speedier than his two.
“What’s that I hear?” murmured Reb Mayer. He stopped the wagon. “Who’s there?” Reb Mayer stopped the wagon, sprung to the ground, walked to the back of the wagon, and found Kalman. “What are you doing here?”
No answer came from the eight-year-old boy. A pleading, pained look said, “Please offer me a ride.”
“Come on up front. Have a crust of bread. And tell me why you’re here.”
Kalman began, “I know you stop at Bialystock. I want to go there.” To Kalman, Bialystock meant Mama Gittel’s sister, Chana, and her children. It meant an end to Must.