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Sarah Somebody

   Author:  Florence & Louis Slobodkin
Copyright Date:  1969
Publisher:  Vanguard
Pagination:  71 p.
Dedication:  for Sarah, who grew up
and became our Mama, and is now
Grandma and Great-Grandma, too

T H E   S E C R E T

     Sarah sat on the nice flat rock under the big tree and looked down the road. Her little sister, Rachel, played quietly with a rag doll that Grandma had made.
     From where she sat Sarah could see only one house until the road curved. And there was not a person in sight ... not yet. But Sarah knew that soon Grandma would be coming around the bend.
     Grandma was very, very old ... ninety years old! She had lived in Poland all of her ninety years. She said that a long time ago Poland had had a king. Then, she remembered, there were wars. And now, in 1893, Poland was part of another country ... Russia.
     “But,” Grandma said, “no matter who rules this land, it does not seem to matter to us in this little village. Most of us have always been poor. That does not change.”
     Grandma lived half a mile past the bend in the road with Aunt Tessie and her family. Aunt Tessie, like Sarah’s Mama, was one of Grandma’s many children.
     Mama was very busy with her family and her housework. She could not visit Grandma often, and there were no telephones. So Grandma, who was not busy, walked over almost every day to visit Mama, who was her youngest child.
     When Grandma came slowly around the turn of the road in the distance she looked even tinier than she was.
     “Come, Rachel, let’s go to meet Grandma,” said Sarah.
     Sarah was in full charge of her baby sister and never went anywhere without her. Sarah’s two brothers, Aaron and Samuel, were older than Sarah. They, like other Jewish boys, spent most of their time studying the prayer books, the Bible, and the other Holy Books that teach the Hebrew laws and ways of living.
     The other children, Miriam, six years old, and Rebecca, three, played together and could now be trusted to stay near the house.
     But baby Rachel had to be watched at all times. Often Mama, who seemed to see everything everywhere even when she was working in the kitchen, would come to the door and say, “Bring Rachel back to the front of the house. She must not go near the chickens,” or “Rachel is too close to the water barrel.”
     And Sarah would run to keep Rachel from getting hurt.
     Rachel walked very slowly ... and so did Grandma. It took some time until they met on the dusty road.
     “The road gets longer, it seems,” said Grandma with her gentle smile. “Let me lean on you, child.”
     Sarah took Grandma’s arm and held on to Rachel with her other hand as they all walked very slowly back toward the house.
     “We walk alike ... the very old and the very young. Think about that, Sarah,” said Grandma.
     Often when Grandma said something, she would add, “Think about that.” And Sarah thought about it and found her Grandma very wise and loved her very much. . . . . . . .

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