This book is made up of 36 stories and an illustration for each story. Each story portrays the experience of a young, Jewish, first generation American girl, growing up in Old New York. The stories are based on memories of a childhood in the 1930s and 40s. The writer combined her art background with her writing skills to create a beautiful coffee table book with an illustrative painting to accompany each story. Three sets of twelve story/painting combinations have been exhibited at three art exhibits in 2009 and 2010. The three group exhibits were presented through the member organization, the Silver Lake Art Collective and the complete set is presented here.
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I Never Was Pretty
I was sitting at the kitchen table, after school, drinking milk and eating chocolate cookies. "Oh, Mama, I'm so ugly!" I cried.
"What are you saying? A yor ste meir vee in meena oygen und a yor ste zeh ve in zeir oygen” (“A year to them the way they see you and a year to me the way I see you”).
"Oh, Mama, that's just because you're my mother! Look at this, I have pimples all over."
We were at Tanta Annie's house, sitting at the kitchen table, and Mama and Tanta Annie were eating mandelbrodt (almond bread) and drinking tea in a glass. Tanta Annie was talking to Mma about my cousins Elaine and Harriet. She said, "Elaine is a very pretty girl. She stands so nice and tall. Harriet is a meeskite (ugly person). Bashala is not pretty but she is “batampt”.
What does she mean? I thought. Batampt? Batampt means “tasty”. I didn’t want to be “batampt”. I wanted to be pretty.
Tanta Claire said to Mama, "Why is Bashala so skinny? You have to fatten her up. She looks like a plucked chicken. Look how nice Elaine looks in a dress and stockings."
Mama said to me, "Why do you have to look like a tomboy? You should wear dresses and stockings like Elaine. You would be pretty."
About Bea Gold
Bea Gold is a painter, woodcut artist, avid gardener, community activist, early childhood specialist, mother of 4 children, grandmother of 5 and great-grandmother of 1. Born in New York City, she attended the Art Student's League under scholarship during her high school years and beyond. She relocated to California as a young adult, and has lived in the Silver Lake area of Los Angeles for 36 years. Bea presently is a member of an international, on line wood-cut society and paints portraits on commission. In 2010 she completed a volume of 36 one page stories based on memories of her childhood in the 1930s and 40s. The stories are in the voice of the child and portray the experiences of a young, Jewish, first generation American girl growing up in old New York. Bea Gold combined her art background with her story-telling skills to create a beautiful coffee table book with an illustrative painting to accompany each story. Three sets of twelve story/painting combinations were shown in Los Angeles at art exhibits in 2008 and 2009 through the member organization The Silver Lake Art Collective. The complete set is presented here.