All Grandmas spoke Yiddish when I was five. I now understand she came from far away bringing her feather bed for winter night snuggling and her candlesticks for Friday evening prayers. She never spoke of the journey, of being third class cargo forced to disembark at Tilbury, down-wind of discerning Londoners, scrutinised by Health Inspectors, defleed, deloused, dehumanised. She never spoke of the warnings from Government officials, from Times letter writers, even from London Rabbis; no room, no jobs, don’t come. She came anyway. There was no choice. She sought work sweat-shop-stitching, cutting, machining, becoming part of an East End shtetl with Jewish neighbours, kosher shops, a Synagogue on every other corner. She almost forgot to be afraid.
Rosalind Adam lives in Leicester, UK. She is the author of several children’s history books, including The Children’s Book of Richard III. Her poetry has been published in anthologies and online sites. In 2018, she won the G. S. Fraser poetry prize and was awarded a distinction for her Masters in Creative Writing at The University of Leicester.