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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.

Transcript of Narration

"Our first apartment in Brooklyn had an old, overgrown sour cherry tree in the backyard. To my mother, who was a remarkable cook, the sight of that tree conjured visions of cherry pies, blintzes, and more. Every summer, Esther would climb the tree and send down buckets of cherries to me and my sister Helene, standing at the foot of the tree.


"Behind the fence is a neighbor boy watching my mother climb. Helene and I were the envy of all the kids in the neighborhood because our mother could climb trees.


"In the caption to the picture, Esther recalls sitting with her grandmother when she was a little girl, her grandmother telling her that when she grew up, she would go to America, because in America, money grows on trees. “But I’m very good at climbing trees!,” Esther said proudly. She remembered that conversation every time she climbed that tree."

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