34 - Picking Cherries


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(From Tapestry): “July 1954. In the yard of our house in Brooklyn, I climbed to the top of the tree and sent down buckets of cherries to my two girls, Bernice and Helene. A neighbor boy called to Bernice to ask who was in the tree and could not believe it when she told him it was her mother. When I was a little girl, my grandmother had told me that money grew on trees in America. ‘Buba,’ I said, ‘I’m good at climbing trees!’ ‘I know,’ she said. I remembered that story whenever I picked cherries from that tree.”

Embroidery and fabric collage, 1996.

32-11/16″W x 37-1/16″H.

Narration by Esther's daughter, Helen McQuade

00:00 / 00:54

Transcript of Narration

In our back yard in Brooklyn grew a sour cherry tree. Our mother was a fabulous cook and baker, and she saw wonderful possibilities in that tree. She would climb up to the top with a bucket on a rope and would lower the harvest to Bernice and me. She recalls in the caption that when she was a little girl, her grandmother had told her that in America money grew on trees. “Bubba,” she said, “I’m good at climbing trees!” “I know,” answered her grandmother. Esther remembered these words each time she climbed the cherry tree. After all she had been through, she held hopes and dreams of a happy life with her new family. It’s wonderful that in this legacy of pictured memories of survival that my mother also shared these happy ones.

​Transcript prepared by the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science Docent Association.