We used to be wrapped up in the warmth of four sisters

whose loving arms gathered ALL the children

as we laughed, told stories, sang songs

and followed the customs of our Jewish heritage.

     We used to sit at a long table laden with fine china

and sterling cutlery, savoring the delicious tastes of

chicken soup, tszimmes, stuffed cabbage and brisket.

     We used to feel like we were part of one large family,

the children playing together; the wives in the kitchen;

the fathers in the living room sleeping after the meal;

the easiness of the day settling into a peaceful smile.

     We used to gather for Chanukah at Auntie Dottie’s

in one small living room filled to the brim with presents.

We ate cold cuts without mayonnaise, pickles, cole slaw;

the nontraditional traditional Shuman meal.

     We used to be young but then we grew up.

Auntie Dottie passed away, then Auntie Wilma and

Auntie Natalie; all the husbands gone too, leaving one sister

whose arms aren’t quite big enough to hold us all together.

     We used to be children but now we have children

who see each other only at special Jewish holidays and

and it feels as if the traditions of the past are just barely holding on.

     Then there are times when I look into the eyes of my cousins and

I am filled with the memories of smells, tastes and laughter;

the memory of four unforgettable sisters whose strong bond

runs through the core of our ever-growing family.



  1. August 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Amy, you always write so beautifully. Almost brought me to tears because your story sounds a lot like mine. We must treasure every moment that we have on this earth and tell the people we love just how much we love them. BEAUTIFUL !!

  2. lapetinaa said,

    August 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Min, as always you “get” me. xxxxxx

  3. Sue said,

    August 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm



  4. Pamela Garrison said,

    August 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    That is beautiful Amy. It’s so sad. I think many of our extended families have experienced this. Have you seen the movie “Avalon?” It’s all about a Jewish family in Baltimore. I cried for days after I saw it.

    • lapetinaa said,

      August 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      It’s very sad that families aren’t as close as they used to be. I haven’t seen Avalon but now I will look for it. Thanks, Pam!

      • Pamela Garrison said,

        August 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm

        Avalon is one of my all time favorite movies. Aiden Quinn is in it. It’s about how a large Jewish family changes through the years. Who wrote “Diner?” Was it Barry Levine? Anyway, it’s written and directed by him.

      • lapetinaa said,

        August 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        I will definitely look for it, Pam. xxxxxx

  5. Jerry Schneider said,

    August 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Oh God How I remember the wonderful times with the Four Sisters when I first entered the family by marrying Fran in 1958. I wasn’t officially a member of the Shuman family but they took me in as one of their own. Thank you Amy for such wonderful memories – you do have a way with words. I do treasure all of those memorable moments over the years.

  6. lapetinaa said,

    August 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    I treasure them, too, Jerry; more and more the older I get. I wish things were the way they used to be.

  7. August 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    It is wonderful that you have such good memories. It is a curiosity to see how the next generation makes sense of all that has gone before. much love to you. Beth

  8. lapetinaa said,

    August 20, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    I really do have wonderful memories of our family holidays. I don’t know why so much has changed.

  9. September 6, 2012 at 6:15 am

    I simply want to tell you that I am beginner to blogging and definitely liked this web page. Probably I’m want to bookmark your website . You definitely come with great stories. Cheers for sharing your web page.

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