July marks the start of two months of a Jewish population boom across the Catskills, and what better way to celebrate that with a little sentimental storytelling? Ronald Pies at The Jewish Magazine tells a fable of two warring brothers set in the old resort era, and he's done his Yiddish homework. An excerpt:
Look, you don’t remember the Catskills the way I do. How could you remember? You were still in diapers when all this happened. Me, at 70, I can remember: Sekofsky’s Department Store and the hot pastrami sandwiches at Joe’s, in Loch Sheldrake, back when Brown’s and Grossinger’s and the Concord were still spilling out crowds on a Saturday night. I mean, zaftig ladies in their furs, big-bellied, cigar-smoking liquor store managers from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens—with money to burn! Nowadays, all you see are the skeletons: the closed-down malls, the shuttered windows. A good deli, you don’t find anymore in the Mountains. You don’t even have the Hasidim the way you used to, dancing, davening, throwing stones at the cars passing by on Shabbas. Sure, I know—the arts are coming back. A big deal, this new Bethel Woods center. Maybe it will take, maybe not. What I know is that you’ll never understand the tsuris we went through back then, arguing over Zayde’s bones. And with my dad and Uncle Morty gone, nobody except me can give you the whole story.