When Jamie Mendelovici Geller was in the fourth grade, her mom, Goldie, contemplated building a new family home in Philadelphia — one without a kitchen. Goldie came to her senses and instead instructed the architect to place the kitchen off to the side of the house, near the garage, so she would never have to walk through the kitchen if she didn’t have to.
My grandparents came from Grodno. That's what I learned from my mother and aunt while growing up. My grandfather, who died on his synagogue steps in Buffalo two years before I was born, and my grandmother, who died the spring before I entered college, had been born and raised in the city in the Polish-Russian-Lithuanian Pale of Settlement that we collectively knew as the Old Country.
They came, according to family legend, early in the 20th century.