They Lost the Money and She Became Bitter

An adaptation from old recordings of my late grandfather Mayer.

My grandmother wasn’t a happy woman.  She didn’t have a happy life.  My grandfather (her cousin) wasn’t a good businessman and when the 1914 war came they really lost a lot.  My great grandparents were well off, and when my great-grandmother died she left my grandfather most of their money - because he was the favourite and she loved him.  So until they lost the money, my grandparents lived a good life.  But, after they lost the money, it hurt my grandmother very much to be poor after being rich.  She became very miserable and temperamental, and she would blow up from nothing.  You know, she became bitter.

I remember one time we were in the boarding school and my aunt was in the school nearby because she was older than us in the senior school. We were still very small.  And we were supposed to go home for something, Rosh Hashanah I think. My aunt picked us up a day early, and when my grandmother came to pick us from her and saw us out of school…her temper exploded.  They had a big brass gong in the house they would use to call people, and she took my aunt, and she pushed her near the gong because she was so angry. 

My brother went to live with them, because he was the eldest and my parents wanted him to have secondary education.  We were in Wad Medani, and they lived in Khartoum - there was no secondary school in Medani so they sent him there. But my grandmother didn’t send him to the school.  Her sister was very very against education so she persuaded my grandmother to take the money and they made him go to the business to work instead.  My parents didn’t know about it, and it was hard for him to be apart from us all.