Autobiography

Laughing in the Jungle

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Steve took me to an inexpensive Jewish clothing-store on Rivington road. For fifteen funds we acquired a swimsuit of garments and a cap. I replaced within the shop. “Now you appear to be an American,” stated the Jew, which Steve translated for me. This happy me a great deal. open air, i ended prior to sixty four mirrors in shop entrances to examine myself. I in comparison myself with Steve and the men I observed within the streets. Steve laughed at me. We went down Delancey road. the following the sidewalks have been jammed with unusual humanity. i spotted the hunched-over, depression, bearded outdated males in lengthy black overcoats. They walked slowly or stood passively opposed to the partitions, with indrawn appears to be like of their eyes. by some means they didn't appear to belong the following. “Old Jews,” acknowledged Steve. however the teenagers alongside the sidewalks looked as if it would belong. a few of them manifested severe energy—American strength. They participated within the tumult of latest Year’s get together. I imagined that most likely they have been the little children, or the grandsons and granddaughters of the outdated males. My olfactory facilities have been assailed by way of an amalgamation of smells, so much of them unusual to me. The sidewalks have been covered with pushcarts, and the peddlers, their bearded faces shining within the lurid mild of acetylene lamps which fluttered above them, cried their wares in Yiddish and Yiddish-American. The pushcarts have been piled without finish of items: affordable outfits, neckties, sneakers, sweet, needles and buttons, shoe-laces and shoe polish, pickles, fruit, greens. there have been stands promoting scorching candy potatoes and chestnuts. On one of many pushcarts, along with apples and oranges, i spotted a pile of lengthy yellow fruit. I remembered that I had obvious an identical fruit on stalls in Le Havre earlier than crusing for the US. “What are these? ” I requested Steve. He laughed. “Bananas. Didn’t you ever listen of bananas? ” He obtained a small bunch and passed me one. I checked out it. I smelled it. Then I bit into it, epidermis and all. Steve roared. “Peel it! ” he cried. “Peel it! That’s the surface! You greenhorn! ” I blushed and peeled the banana. Then, consuming it and liking it, I laughed with Steve, who provided me extra bananas. We walked a bit farther and boarded a street-car, which took us throughout an important bridge. After crossing it, we rode many years in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn was once no much less noisy than ny. i presumed we have been going to Mrs. Schmidt’s boarding-house, yet Steve stated he had replaced his brain; there has been no hurry approximately going there, and my bag, which he nonetheless insisted on wearing, was once now not heavy. This used to be New Year’s Eve and we must always have fun it in American model, even supposing i used to be yet a greenhorn—and Steve laughed. someplace within the Flushing part we bought off the streetcar and have been almost immediately in one other Bohunk saloon. Its owner was once a chunky Slovenian, and his consumers have been for the main half Slovenians, too. Steve, considering that he used to be turning into a well-liked prize-fighter in Brooklyn, was once very well identified within the neighborhood Slovenian “colony,” and the minute we entered the saloon there has been a lot eagerness alongside the complete size of the bar to regard us.

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