There had been the remnants of a Jewish community in Tuebrook for as long as I could remember. But by this time most Jewish people had moved further out to the suburbs.
A few lingered on and I would run errands for them on Friday nights and Saturdays. It was a useful way of earning a few pennies. But now I spent most school days in the company of their dead.
The graveyard was my favourite place. I could recognise some of the names on the tombstones from the Bible in the Methodist church, and I adopted them as my friends. I’d sit and talk to them, using their first names and imagining that we were playing together.
The only scary thing about the place was the large mausoleum in the middle. I thought it was a furnace to cremate bodies and stayed well away from it.
The tombstones were lovely and cool during the summer, and lots of wild flowers grew there. I’d sometimes fall asleep feeling that my Jewish friends would keep watch for the school board inspectors or any of the dirty old men who would haunt the streets.
It’s strange, but I’ve always felt a sympathy with Jewish people since then. Their dead ancestors have made me feel well disposed to those Jews I met later.
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