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Visiting the newsroom of “The Day” as a young girl

When I was eight years old and my sister a bit younger, our mother informed us that we were going to meet our father after work on East Broadway. My father was the Yiddish poet and folklorist, Wolf Younin, who also worked as the city editor of the Yiddish newspaper, “Der Tog” (The Day). Our mother, Sylvia Guberman, was also a Yiddish poet as well as a painter and artist. That morning she laid out the pretty dresses we were going to wear to the office. She had a real eye for color and beautiful clothing.

The four of us took the subway to the East Broadway stop and found ourselves on the same block as the Garden Cafeteria, a well known haunt for Yiddish writers and journalists, where the food was simple and wholesome. Mid-block stood the building of the newspaper: a very old concrete brownstone edifice with several crooked flights of cement steps.

There were two work spaces: one for the writers and the other one, called the composing room, was where the zetsers, the printers, worked. They dealt with the design and production of the finished printed paper.

We walked up the stairs and found ourselves in the writers’ area where everyone was busy typing. Whenever one of them looked up, they seemed elated to see us, not only because we were females, but because we were the Younin family and they held my father in high regard.

Our father introduced us to the writers Leon Feinberg, Yomie (Yermiahu) Hesheles, Aaron Glanz-Leyeles and a small, round man they called “Di Pave” (the Peacock) because he waddled. I never knew his real name. Then there was the writer who sat to the left of my father who kept opening the bottom drawer of his desk pulling out a small, silver flask and after taking a swig of something went back to work. There was an aroma of wine around him.

Then, a few of the zetsers came in to meet us. They gave us each a souvenir of a small block of lead from the composing room. We thanked everyone, and our parents took us over to the Garden Cafeteria where I had my favorite meal, Swiss cheese on rye. My mother had apple pie a la mode and our parents had coffee. The memory of that day still fills me with warm feelings.

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