Anna was left a young widow with four small children when her husband Nathan died. His death certificate says that he died of pneumonia, worsened by a cardiac condition, but the family rumor had it that his death might have been from complications resulting from when he had been shot while trying to smuggle weapons into Russia after the Revolution.
Whatever the story was, Anna, or Annie as she was also called, was a young widow in Brooklyn, left to raise four small children in a brownstone tenement. The year was 1924.
Anna was my paternal great-grandmother. Nathan had supported the family comfortably as a furrier. After his death, Anna opened a beauty parlor. She also made bootleg whiskey in her bathtub and delivered it to her customers in a baby carriage. My Aunt Edna's baby carriage.
Great Aunt Edna had fond memories of her mother, that she was impulsive and good-natured, despite their constant struggles to make ends meet. When Anna would come upon a little windfall of money (maybe from the whiskey or a generous tip from a customer), my great aunt remembers that her mother would go out and buy a treat for the family. She remembers the strawberries vividly, an expensive luxury but how cherished those berries were and how special it was to have them.
I have always enjoyed imagining those strawberries, and the family of children delighting in them. Whenever I have a little windfall, I call it my Strawberry Money.
Yesterday I wrote that post about how Dickensian the world has been feeling and about not having money for a sandwich and all of that. I literally pondered if there would be a treat after all of this economic madness.
But when I got home, there was some Strawberry Money waiting for me. A check for $29 from Blurb, meaning that more than one person actually bought one of my books online, so I could accrue enough to get a little check in the mail! Hooray! Thank you, mystery customers!
Now, what will I spend my Strawberry Money on? That's the hard part. But like Annie, I'll figure out something delightful. I get to see two special friends tonight. Maybe I will spend my Strawberry Money on buying them an ice cream.
What would you do? When you ask for a little treat, you might just get one!