Friday, February 01, 2008


Shana Salzburg, who was the Communist's mother and my grandmother, was born in Zagare, Lithuania, sometime towards the end of the century before last.

When she moved to Leeds, age fourteen, sometime before the First World War, she became known as Janie. Shana was considered far too "foreign" for English people to be able to pronounce.

She had several brothers and sisters and one sister, Pesha (and I'm not sure how you spell it - I've never seen it written down) also left Zagare, but moved to South Africa, and was ever after called Pauline. She had a daughter who was called Ennie.

Ennie was, in truth, only what my grandmother called her. Many years later, we found out that my grandmother had never seen that name written down, only heard it pronounced in a South African accent. In fact the daughter's name was Annie.

I'm thinking of Pauline and Ennie, or Pesha and Annie, because it's February, and because of the oranges.

Every year, throughout my childhood, in the darkest, snowiest days of winter, one day the doorbell would ring and there'd be a man outside with a huge wooden crate.

We would bring it inside and prize the lid off and inside would be lots of huge, glorious oranges.

I liked oranges anyway. But to see them, so many of them, come from so far away in a special crate just for us - - well, it was magic.

Every year for years they arrived, unannounced, bringing summer sunshine to a cold British winter.

I never met either Pesha or Annie and they must both be dead now. But they'll live on in my orange memories.


Blogger Silverback said...

I get the same feelings when the ASDA delivery van pulls up !!

We have acres and acres of orange groves just outside the park here and even lots of orange trees on individual properties within the park - and yet oddly enough I'm eating less oranges and drinking less juice now than when I was in the UK.

Lovely story, Daphne. What an exotic (carefully checking the spelling there) family history. More please.


9:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nice family story.

5:34 pm  

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