I’ve been writing about my maternal great-grandmother Esther Toby Drewno Entel through a “braided essay” class given by Marian Calabro at the Montclair (NJ) adult school. At our last session last week, I began to write about changes in headstone inscriptions the further we move away from the immigrant generation. I’d written about this before in an academic paper about Newark’s Grove Street Cemetery where my father’s grandparents are buried.
For whatever reason, I had it in my head that Esther Toby and my great-grandfather, Chaim Joseph Entel, were buried at Baron Hirsch Cemetery on Staten Island. The office there told me they were not interred there under any variation of the name. I checked JewishGen’s online burial registry and Jewishdata.com. I tried Ancestry. Zilch.
But I did remember that my cousin once asked me who Esther Toby was, because the shul was sending her annual Yahrzeit notices. I will see her this coming weekend. Maybe if I contact the shul, someone there can tell me where my great-grandparents are buried.
I have not written more about my maternal grandfather, Avram Mendel Pryzant, aka Max Perlman.
I am nearly at the halfway mark of this project, and I fear I’m running out of material.
Most of the “heirlooms” I inherited belonged to my mother, including furniture, wall art, the dress she wore to my wedding, and stories. I have my father’s 1946 address book and my mother’s 1936 junior high autograph book. I have my maternal grandmother’s watch and some of her Passover dishes. I used to have my paternal great-grandmother’s ring before I lost it. I have my paternal grandfather’s tallis bag with the tallis and phylacteries and my father’s bag too (no phylacteries). There may be something to write about using this inventory.