I saw Fred Kogos’s dictionary online some time ago but none of the UK online booksellers I tried had a new copy at the list price of £10.99. Not only a new copy but secondhand copies were all at silly prices starting at £54. Finally, I found some secondhand copies from three USA bookstores but none of them would ship to the UK. Then, just before Christmas, a secondhand copy was listed on Amazon US. Not cheap at £23.54 including nearly £4 postage, but so well worth it. It’s in very good condition, the paper slightly foxed but no underlines or highlighting.
It is all in Roman script not Hebrew – much easier for me. Yiddish-> English then English -> Yiddish and then pages of Yiddish proverbs.
It made me quite weepy, reading the proverbs my late mother used to encourage or berate me with. Never thought a dictionary would make tears come to my eyes.
I thank all the lovely people who contacted me and commented on my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat.’
Lots more stories like this in my memoir ‘‘Woman in White Coat’.
Buy it on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99
For me Whitechapel Library was a godsend. The only books our family owned were six Sidurim (Daily Prayer Books) and six Haggadahs (Prayer Books for the first two nights of Pesach – Passover). – one each for my grandmother, my parents, my two older sisters and me. No reading books. Those we borrowed from the library.
I could already read when I was enrolled at Jews Free Infant School aged 3, but I couldn’t join the children’s section of Whitechapel Library until I was five. From then on, I went to the library every Friday afternoon before Shabbat began. Hard to believe in our apparently more dangerous age, but I went there on my own as soon as I was old enough to join, walking from our tenement in Wentworth Dwellings, crossing the busy Commercial Street, walking up Old Montague Street and cutting through what I think is now Angel Alley to the Library.
My mother would tell me to find a big man to take me across Commercial Street and to hold his hand tight. These days parents would fear that the ‘big man’ was a paedophile or worse.
I could borrow six books a week from the Children’s section and later, when I was old enough, from the Adult Library, so for me most of the titles in ‘1000 Books You Must Read before You Die’ are familiar, even if I’ve only skimmed them – though most I’d have read cover to cover. As an Orthodox Jewish girl there was little else I could do on Saturdays after getting back from Shul and having lunch.
There was a plaque at the bottom of the staircase to J Passmore Edwards in recognition of the philanthropist’s substantial contribution to its construction under the aegis of Canon Samuel Barnett and his wife Henrietta. It was only looking at the photograph that I saw the inscription on the building ‘The Passmore Edwards Library’ but I never heard anyone call it that.
The only thing I hated about the library was walking past the cases of stuffed animals and birds if I needed to look up something in the Reference Library upstairs. I can still picture the glaring eyes and sharp teeth of the foxes and visualise the poor little song birds tied to twigs.
I’m sure the new Ideas Store further up Whitechapel Road that replaced it after it was closed as a library in 2005 does a great job, but it’s nothing like the glorious old Whitechapel Library of my memories.
And I thank all those lovely people who read and commented on my memoir ‘Woman in White Coat’.
Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99
Some of Dr Abby Waterman’s stories are funny and some sad. Listen to an episode from her childhood that made her want to be a doctor when she grew up
Chapter 2 Violet has Polio pp 29-30
Or read the text:
Buy Woman in a White Coat on Kindle at £2.99 or as a Paperback on Amazon at £9.99
‘Woman in a White Coat Chapter 2 pp 29-30
We all caught measles, chicken pox and whooping cough. The only immunisation we had was against smallpox – it left an ugly scar on your upper arm.
There was an outbreak of Infantile Paralysis (Polio) every summer and in all the schools there were children with leg braces to support limbs damaged by the disease. It wasn’t until 1955 that Dr Salk’s anti-polio vaccine became available.
Well not a completely new library – a previous library moved across the road to sparkling new premises adjoining a super-convenient, very tempting, M & S Food Hall. Great to see at a time when libraries are closing down or losing staff.
A jolly mural in the entrance could keep a child busy for ages finding all the different animals and buildings. So different from the somber Victorian facades we’re so used to.
I miss the towering shelves in the old Whitechapel library stretching up to the 10 foot high ceilings. I used to have to stand on one of those rolling stools to reach.
Health and safety would have something to say about that now!
Several people at the readings I have given from my memoir ‘Woman in a White Coat’ in Westminster Libraries have suggested that I record excerpts. I am therefore appending a reading from Chapter 1 and the corresponding text.
‘Woman in a White Coat’ is the story of a young Jewish girl brought up in a cold-water tenement in London’s East End. In spite of her disadvantages, she becomes in turn a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur, a Consultant Pathologist and Director of a Cancer Research laboratory, as well as a wife and mother of four children.
‘Woman in a White Coat’ is available on Kindle at £2.99 or as a paperback on Amazon at £9.99
This excerpt starts in 1931 when Dr Abby J Waterman was born.
Excerpts from ‘Woman in a White Coat‘
My mother said she cried for days when I was born. I wasn’t the son she wanted, the son who would carry on the family name and say the prayer for the dead (the Kadesh) at her funeral. She didn’t need a third daughter.
I read ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins as a teenager 70+ years ago, so when I came to think of a title for my memoir that would suggest that among my several professions were some in which I would wear a doctor’s white coat, his title never crossed my mind.
Now retired, I have been in turn a Harley Street dentist, an entrepreneur (co-owner of Conran-group designed educational toyshops), the director of a Cancer Research laboratory at a major London teaching hospital, as well as a wife and mother of four children.
I was first reminded of Wilkie Collins’ book when I saw my memoir for sale on Amazon and now I see that BBC 1 is about to air a serialized version starting tonight – the last was in 1997. Be interesting to see what the BBC makes of it.
It was lovely to be invited by the librarian of Askew Road library to give a talk and reading from my memoir Woman in a White Coat. The occasion was one of the Wednesday coffee mornings that have been running in the library for many years.
The library is on one floor and in a light friendly open space. To one side, towards the back, is a gaily coloured children’s area with carpeting so the children can read and play on the floor.
The chairs for the participants were arranged in a large semicircle. Louise was in the UK with her family for Easter and she came with Josh so I had an audience of at least two plus the librarians. But when I sat at the table at the front, the expanse of empty chairs looked enormous. Louise and Josh were lost at one end.
However, to my surprise and delight, by the time we started at 11am, not only were all the chairs filled but some latecomers had to fetch extra seating.
Most of the audience – mainly women with one man – were seniors who remembered life pre-WW2 and my story of life in a cold water tenement resonated with them, as did the medical episodes. They laughed and caught their breath in all the right places.
What a lovely responsive audience and welcoming library staff. I felt very lucky to have been given this invitation and have promised to return – perhaps with my sequel ’25 houses’