3 January 2020

Published January 1, 2020 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

(However it’s mine…and a rerun. Some may remember it. 😉 ) Since we’re still in the holiday season I’m posting yet another rerun. This one is from January 2013.

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Click the Frog to Join the festivities!

Genre: Autobiography

Word Count: 100


            Every Sunday my mother dragged me to my grandfather’s house. She urged me to get to know him, learn from him. After all, he’d survived Russia’s pogroms. My family history.

            I feared him and asked no questions. He offered no stories.

            One week mom took a vinyl copy of Fiddler on the Roof for him to hear. His timeworn torso sank into his recliner as he listened to Tevye the milkman sing.

            “If I were a rich man, yaba-deebee-deebee-bum.”

            Fifty years later I still remember how my austere grandfather’s granite-hard eyes transformed to liquid quartz.  “My father sang…just like that.”


I chose to share the following version of the song. It’s the one my grandfather listened to.

68 comments on “3 January 2020

  • Fiddler on the Roof is probably the only musical for which I know every song and could sing most of the lyrics to them. I always found it so moving in the right way – Tevye is such a wonderful character, cheeky, devout, adoring his family, but headstrong and unreasonable in some ways. Listened to this all the way through – wonderful.
    As was your story, Rochelle. I know we’ve said this before, but we all take our grandparents for granted as children, don’t search out their stories, when as adults we’d be fascinated to listen. This tale just shows that crack of warmth coming from your grandfather, the way the music and memories thaw him just a little.
    Lovely tale

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      “A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka…” Yeah I’m a total FOTR geek. I cry every time I watch it. I’ve seen several renditions of it. Zero Mostel invented the role, though. On the other hand, I really enjoyed Topol’s screen version. On the other hand…;)
      Since that incident my my grandfather, it’s even nearer and dearer to my heart. Now I see, not only heritage, but family as well.
      I’m so pleased you listened and enjoyed. Thank you for such a magnificent comment.

      Shalom and Happy New Year,


      Liked by 1 person

      • On the other hand … 🙂 I just loved it for it’s warmth, its humanity, its characters – and it’s got so many singable songs too! And as you say, heartbreaking. When Tevye sings about Chava leaving with her Russian … Happy New year to you too, Rochelle

        Liked by 1 person

  • The cover on that album brings back wonderful memories. I think we still have the album, although I also have a CD and that is what we use. No one ever did that song any better.

    Happy New Year to you and yours, Rochelle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Penny,

      I’ve not doubt my grandfather was closed off due to what he’d suffered in his youth. I only wish I’d asked the questions. On the other hand, he might have refused to answer. Who knows? At any rate, I do cherish the precious few moments he allowed access. Thank you.



      Liked by 1 person

  • I remember seeing Fiddler when I was a little kid and finally understanding what the crazy candlestick on my grandmother’s piano was all about. Her father Selim Franklin was Jewish but renounced when he married a protestant woman. The menorah came from her uncles, Arizona pioneers the Jacobs brothers.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Beautiful memory!
    Interestingly – given how synchronicity can be – my niece Chagit just played Goldy (Tevye’s wife) at a production of Fiddler on the Roof in Jerusalem, Israel. Last week were the two last performances and they were surprised and honored to have Haim Topol, come to watch them and then talk to the performers. My niece was beyond thrilled and moved. It was apparently the first time he’d watched the show he is so famous for playing Tevye in!
    Their version of the show was just uploaded to YouTube this morning!

    Here’s to memories and the transformative power of music. …
    Oh, and I’ve left my little tidbit with the New Year Froggy …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Na’ama Y’karah,

      If I were your niece I would be beyond thrilled. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen productions of FOTR, including one with Mr. Topol in Kansas City. It was an outdoor performance and it was one of the hottest nights of the century…not even dust moved. I felt for the cast singing and dancing in their winter coats. Oy.
      Thank you, re my memory. It was a defining moment for me, even though it took me years to realize it.

      Shalom and a Happy New Year,


      PS Thank you for the link…I’ll be going back to watch it in its entirety later. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 I hope you enjoy! It is a small budget project that got great reviews, including interviews with the cast on the Israeli media.
        FOTR is a seminal work of history and culture. I think that’s why some of us love it so and why it is so timeless.
        As it was for you. And your grandpa.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sadly, the truly grisly aspect of that history is lesser known. Although I referred to my first novel Please Say Kaddish for Me as the dark side of FOTR, I had an agent (surprisingly she was Jewish) tell me my book was too much like FOTR and a story that “everybody already knew.” Nonetheless, when I see the play, the movie or listen to the music I hear mishpokhah. And my great-grandmother’s name was Yenteh. How great is that? 😉 Thank you for sharing the link with me. I enjoyed the use of the actual names, ie Moshe, Yosef (my brother’s Hebrew name.)
          Oy for someone who’s slow of tongue I have a lot to say.

          Shalom and hugs back at ya,


          Liked by 1 person

  • Hello… it seems like some time since I wrote here the last time… I must have written for this one, I do recognize your story and the picture… The memories and how to keep them during hard times is really things that I have thought a lot about (it’s really a theme of my ongoing persona of my aged librarian)… and I think my latest poem fits a bit to the picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    This is a beautiful story of a precious moment you were a part of. My father had the 8-track of FOTR and I knew the songs without having seen the movie! Which I finally saw a few years ago and believe it or not, I just bought tickets to see the play for the end of April 😀
    This is such a lovely post.

    Shalom and lotsa love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • Laugh if you will, but I grew up with just that same album. I had a small little record player and not but two records, Chipmunks Christmas, and Fiddler on the Roof. Now, I have it on CD, DVD, and even MP3. Tevye’s song was always my favorite…and, we used to dance to it, too. Oh, those were the roaring days of early childhood, back when family was there.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Beautiful story! I was lucky enough to see Fiddler on the Roof on stage. I was a child at the time, but “If I were a Rich Man” has stuck with me the rest of my life. Great stuff!


  • Happy New Year, Rochelle! 🙂
    What a wonderful memory of your grandfather. Music often brings out emotions and you described that moving change in your grandfather beautifully. I bet you were less afraid of him after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Gabi,

      I suppose I might have been less fearful of him, but it didn’t do a lot to improve our relationship. Although I did see chinks in his armor a few times after that. 😉 Thank you and a happy new year to you. 😀



      Liked by 1 person

  • A sad yet beautiful story. So many difficult memories and moments for him to overcome. I teared up at the tender last line, “Fifty years later I still remember how my austere grandfather’s granite-hard eyes transformed to liquid quartz.” Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite movies. Also, my grandmother and I used to play the record and belt out the songs. I know them all by heart. Happy and blessed 2020 to you and yours! BTW … Love the frog!!

    Liked by 1 person

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