1906 - 2005 (98 years)
||Nesta Danow |
||12 Sep 1906
||03 Mar 2005
||New York, NY
||Zarakov Family History
||6 May 2016 |
||Herman Feldman, b. 21 Jul 1894, Manhattan, NY , d. 03 Jan 1958, New York, NY (Age 63 years) |
||unsure per Nesta
- The divorce was Nesta's decision.
||6 May 2016 21:45:35 |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Interview with Nesta (Danow) Feldman (Nesta Feldman, 136 West 75th Street, New York, New York 10023) by Milo Zarakov, May 28, 1999. Transcript held in 2001 by Milo Zarakov (391 Crest Avenue, Alamo, CA 94507)
Interview took place at Nesta (Danow) Feldman's flat at the above address in New York.
Nesta: Your great grandfather William Berly was very handsome.
Milo: Some say he had red hair.
Nesta: I remember it as blond.
Milo: What kind of business did he have?
Nesta: I don't know, I think he had a job as a clothes presser. Not everybody went into business. His brother Louis was in business, he had a candy store. And Velvel (William Berly) had a job as a clothes presser, I think. I was a kid, I don't remember. He too was a very, I remember I used to go to their (William Berly's) house. We used to call it a vacation. Where'd you go for vacation? You went to your cousins' house for vacation. I'd sleep over, and it would be like Saturday morning and he didn't have to go to work. He and his wife would be in bed and they would take the kids into bed with them. So I slept over and so they took me into bed on Saturday morning, and talking and clowning around and count my ribs. I was so skinny and they'd count my ribs. And they were counting my ribs and I was deeply (couldn't understand). They were wonderfully affectionate with the kids.
Milo: Did you ever know their son Sam, the one who died?
Nesta: Yes. Yes. I loved Sammy. He was a little bit older than me. I said that I was going to marry him. When I grew up I said I was going to marry him. I loved him. I was really terribly heart broken when that happened.
Milo: The story I heard was that he was selling newspapers someplace.
Nesta: You know, the American Myth, the American Dream, that you go sell newspapers and you become rich and you become, so he wanted to sell newspapers, so she (his mother Chaika) let him go sell newspapers. And there were a bunch of Irish kids that got into a fight with him. From now I am thinking that maybe they said that this is their territory or something and they wouldn't let him go on that corner to sell newspapers. Whatever, they got into a fight and somehow they hit a lucky punch just in the solar plexus and knocked him out. If they hadn't been scared and called the police right away, they probably could have revived him. They ran in fear and he died.
Milo: I wrote away for Sam's death certificate because I was curious and it said that he died from asphyxiation from vomitus.
Nesta: That could happen.
Milo: You had a brother and two half siblings, right? You had a brother Peter, a brother Herbert Kramer, who had the bookstore, and
Nesta: A sister Olive.
Milo: Did you all live in the same house?
Nesta: We all lived together, Olive, Herbert, and Peter and I. We were four kids. We didn't know any different that we were half sisters and half brothers. They were my brothers and sisters.
Milo: What did Peter do as far as job?
Nesta: He had a tough time making it. He got jobs here and jobs there. And finally ended up in Florida. Then he got diabetes and I don't know, he tried going into business, but he just didn't make it somehow.
Milo: Did he die in Florida?
Milo: Herbert married Nancy and then was Olive. What was she like?
Nesta: Olive, she was very pretty. Sometimes I think that being beautiful is a curse, because it gets you into more trouble than somebody who isn't that pretty, you know. She had bad marriages, one after the other. Then she ended up in Florida. She was supposed to have died from asthma, I don't know.
Milo: Do you know where she died?
Nesta: Somewhere on the west coast of Florida, maybe St. Petersburg
Milo: Do you have any idea what year when?
Nesta: I don't know.
Milo: Did she have kids?
Milo: How about your Mom, Ida.
Nesta: My mom had asthma too. My mother had asthma. After WWI, 1917, they had this terrible flu epidemic. Killed more people than were lost in the war. My half brother, Robert, he got the flu and my mother went over to nurse him and he died in a few days.
Milo: This is Robert?
Milo: I didn't know there was a Robert.
Nesta: Yes, there was a Robert and a William who did not live with us. See they were my father's children, but they didn't live with us when I lived on Long Island. Maybe they did live with us for a short time. I don't remember. They might have lived with us. Yes, I'm pretty sure they did. Because my father had four children from his previous marriage. Two girls and two boys. The girl's stayed with their aunt, their mother's sister. And the boys lived with us. They were much older. They were like in their teens, I was a little baby, maybe four or five years old. So they got older and they got jobs and they left.
And Bob (Robert) he got a job and he kept in touch. And then when he got married, he married a non-Jewish girl, Alice, and my father, with his background from Lithuania, he was going to say Shiva for him and write him off as dead. And my mother talked to him and talked to him and after a while convinced him between talking to him and whatever, Alice, the wife, said she would become Jewish. She turned Jewish. She went and became Jewish. She went to the (mickveh), which part of the Jewish ritual before you get married, you go to the Mickveh, which is a ritual bath. She kept a kosher home. And then they had a baby, Sidney, and everything was beautiful. And then he (Bob) died of the influenza. Robert left the young woman with a six month old baby. So she struggled. It was very hard for her. She didn't continue being Jewish for much longer. Although Sidney used to go all over Boston saying, "My name is Schlomo, I'm a Jew." Sidney grew up. Alice died from diabetes. That's another story.
Alice went to Florida, also to Florida with Sidney. And she sent Sydney to get the medicine, diabetics, you know. I guess he didn't come back soon enough and she went into a coma and died. He was this 11 year old kid now with no parents. And this thing over his head that he probably … his mother because he didn't come back soon enough. I don't know, I never verbalized that, but I imagine that, that might have occurred in his mind. So my father took Sydney, he (Nesta's father) was living alone here in a little apartment, near me. And he took Sydney and he couldn't manage him. Sydney was a wild kid by then, he was eleven - twelve years old, a wild kid, and my father just didn't know how to manage him. Luckily, some Jewish social workers got interested in the case. There was a very good home, the Jewish Orphan Asylum, on Amsterdam Avenue. Orphan homes have a terrible name, but this one happened to be a very good home for kids, for orphans. I couldn't take him, I was a young woman, I was teaching, I had two kids, and my husband wasn't sympathetic to this. So it would have been impossible for me. So they put him in this home and he used to come to me on weekends and vacations. Summer vacations and weekends and things like that, that I could manage. So I kept close ties with Sydney. And Sydney fought in World War II. He was in one of those battalions that went over to Europe and was in one of the offensives there. He really had a very good career in the Army. He looked like his mother, with blue eyes and blond hair and so when he told them he was Jewish, he wanted "H" on his tag, they didn't believe him and they wrote to me to verify. (laughs). Anyway, he came back and got married. And he had kids, in New Jersey. And I kept in touch with him all along. We were very close, really. When he was born, I thought of him as my baby. I would take care of him and wheel him in his carriage and take good care of him. And then when his father died, and his mother's mother was living in Dorchester, she was a Christian Scientist. She was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis and in those days they just called it rheumatism. She walked with two canes, she was crippled. And she tried to take care of him so that Alice could go to work. I used to come over and help her after school…take care of Sidney. Saturdays and Sundays I was there all the time. He was a devilish kid you know. She had a cane you know and she'd call him and he wouldn't come she'd take the cane and grab him by the leg and pull him with the cane (laughs). It was funny, I remember that. But I was very close to him, even when he was growing up and when he was a baby. He had a tough break. And then I took a trip, I was teaching, by that time I got divorced and I went on a trip to Europe someplace, and while I was away, he died of a heart attack. A sudden heart attack. I was so… He was such a wonderful guy. So that's my nephew Sydney. And his children, one died and there were two children left.
Milo: What can you tell me about Zlotta (Mother of Ida Kramer, Louis Berly, and William Berly)?
Neste: That was my grandmother, William (Berly)'s mother and my mother's mother. She lived with us in Boston when I was kid. I was born and brought up in Boston. She (Zlotta) must have had asthma or bad bronchitis. She was always coughing and spitting up. That's all I remember. She was very nice, but had this constant coughing. My Barbara was named after her. I also have asthma and use inhalers.