They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust

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The kleptomaniac

Yumen, who was very well to do, owned the biggest lumberyard. Although he was not religious, he closed his shop on Saturday. I don't remember seeing him in shul, but his daughter went to a Jewish school. Would you believe it, Yumen's wife was a kleptomaniac. She used to steal. Everyone knew. The merchants would keep track of what she stole and her husband would write down what she brought home. Every Monday morning, all the merchants would come to Yumen, tell him what they were owed, and he would pay up. My mother told me Yumen's wife would steal a fish and hide it in her bosom. It was a live fish, of course. Who would want to steal a dead fish? She was a beautiful little woman, always impeccably dressed. There she is in brown, with a matching hat and guilty look, slipping a fish down her dress.