Kirshenblatt, Mayer (1916-2009)
Selling Our Goods Before Leaving, June 1996
Acrylic on canvas
24 x 36 in.
"There were months of preparation. We had to be checked out by the eye doctor and the physician. We needed statements from the police and city hall. We had to be in perfect health and of perfect character. Finally, the happy day arrived. We were ready to leave. Most of our things were already spoken for. They were promised to my maternal grandmother, Mother's sister in Nieklan, and one of mother's first cousins in Apt who had the same name as my mother. They were both named after the same grandmother, Rivke, my great grandmother. Rivke's family was really poor. We put everything that had not already been spoken for, particularly the bedbugs, outside. Fortunately, it was a warm day. This must have been the first and original yard sale. People started shlepping away beds, chairs, and other household effects. We gave away the potted plants, with promises that they would be looked after. Whatever was left, my grandfather sold or gave away. Everything had a value.
The wagon was waiting. We piled our luggage on the wagon, including the featherbeds, the brass mortar and pestle, the pair of silver candlesticks that mother used for lighting the candles for the Sabbath and other holidays, and the beautiful Hanukkah lamp that I inherited after my mother passed away a few years ago. We climbed into the wagon not with sadness but with great anticipation of our new life to come. Everyone turned out to wave goodbye. We had already taken our leave from father's family in Drildz several weeks ago. We had already taken our leave from Father's family in Drildz several weeks before. We were on our way at last."
Mayer explains why he chose to leave Poland. Listen to it.