In Rhode Island, six degrees of separation are reduced to three. In my case, I've noticed it is reduced to two. My maternal grandparents moved to the state in 1955. My grandmother, Helen, worked as a teacher and librarian for years in the Cranston school department. She, along with my grandfather, have, for the past few years been volunteering for Meals on Wheels. Occasionally, my mother and I also volunteer for this organization.
When volunteering for Meals on Wheels, Mom and I take Grandma's route. When delivering meals, I lose my identity as Sarah Goldberg. I am no longer me, but Helen Silverberg's granddaughter. The position comes with a lot of cumulative kvelling. I am the sum of my cousin, Martha, who graduated from Columbia last May, her brother, Aaron and my sister Johanna, who graduated from high school this year. I am glad to be part of a recognized family, and enjoy the sense of community it brings me with the Jews of the state. It is the thing I miss and revel in the most when at college.