WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 55 of 203

Holidays Past Ruth Harriet Jacobs surprisingly, Caroline looked forward to serenading the one family who greeted the carolers on their porch with punch and cookies. Baby boomer and Waterstone's Life Enrichment Director Leslye Peterson ushers in Christmas with her college-age daughters with a modest tradition she started when they were toddlers. While her chil- dren napped and then were at school, she decorated their home for the holiday, hiding their favorite ornament — a small red cardinal – for her girls to find when they woke up or returned home. Whichever daughter discovered the cardinal first got a dollar, exactly the same amount the winner gets today. Unfortunately, not everyone is free to celebrate holidays as they choose, even in a simple manner. Nell Kronrod escaped with her family from Russia to the United States in 1991 thanks to the help of one of her English students' mothers who worked in the visa office. Nell was raised in Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine, before World War II. To elude the invading Germans, she fled at the age of seven with her family to hide in the Ural Mountains that divide Europe and Asia, before settling in after the war. Nell's family is Jewish, but they didn't celebrate Hanukkah or any of the Jewish holidays for fear of persecution. Nell does remember 54 celebrating a couple of secular holidays in Russia, including International Woman's Day, International Worker's Day, and New Year's Day. To usher in another year, her mother prepared a festive meal of Borscht soup, cabbage and sausage, and turkey. New Year's was the one time a year Nell's family splurged to buy a turkey at the farmer's market, and her mother found ways to make the expensive bird last for ten days. Unlike Nell, Ruth Harriet Jacobs has always been free to embrace the joy of sharing holidays with people of all religions and heritages. This former sociology professor, gerontologist, and author of many books, including Be an Outrageous Older Woman, captured her inclusive atti- tude in written prose, "I have eaten Thanksgiving turkey, Passover unleavened matzos, Christmas and Easter cakes, barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs on the fourth of July. I am willing to celebrate anyone's holiday foods and customs." True to her words, Ruth Harriet and her adult daughter look forward each winter to participating in a Christmas celebration at a Greek Orthodox Church in Watertown and spending Christmas day with her daughter's goddaughter and family. You can be sure Ruth Harriet brings along a traditional Jewish sweet to top off the Irish American Christmas meal. WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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