Wrists As Thick As My Fist

Yes, Mama was a powerful woman.  Her wrists were as thick as my fist and almost as big as Papa’s—this was until Semele was born.  I guess it was too much.  After that she slowed down.  Mama said, “Ikh bin nisht mer keyn berier.” (I no longer am a skillful housewife.)

Up until then, she could pick up a 100 lb.  sack of chicken feed from the floor, chuck it onto her shoulders, and carry it up to the second floor of our large chicken coop, without slowing her gait to one step at a time.  This was something that I was never able to do.

It was the power in her wrists that made short order in dismembering a chicken, duck or turkey.  This was the source of energy that wielded the large mop in her weekly washing of the linoleum on our farm-kitchen floor.

Mama was born and raised in Tiktin (Tykocin), Poland, some 25 kilometers from Białystok.  During World War I, as a teenager, she walked eight kilometers out into the countryside with her mother.  They visited the peasant farmers bringing sewing supplies and material.  In return farm produce was received, which they carried home.  This was the manner in which Mama said they earned their parnose (livelihood).  It also built up her large muscular frame.

While she was a powerful woman, she also possessed the most delicate touch which showed when it came to tending to her sick boys or handling the fuzzy, yellow, Leghorn baby chicks.