, supposedly my native language
and nurtured by Bubbe and Zayde on Riverside Drive, was drilled out of me in the pre-1963, white-bread-with-mayonnaise Midwest
. In some respects, being here in North-Central California
is like the Midwest redux. I recall that I was the only one who got the joke of "twenty dwarfs
took turns doing handstands on the carpet" in the movie audience of "Bugsy" some years back.
Now, Yiddish comes to me only as a dream or reverie, my dead mother whispering in my ear and then adding, "But we are Americans. We speak English." She sounded like a New York Jew. I sound like nothing.