“the fruit of the day”

Today my former neighbor Helen died.  Her daughter called to tell me.  Helen was the Jewish mother I never had.  Helen and her husband Ralph were the best of neighbors.  They were the kind of neighbors who would do anything for you.  I couldn’t enumerate all the things Helen and I borrowed from each other. –extra glasses, sugar, eggs—you know.  Helen hid the Christmas presents I had gotten for my kids in her closet.  I admired her closeness with her family.  Helen was on the phone with her grown kids every day.  My kids got home from school about a half hour before I did  and went to Helen’s downstairs  apartment where she was always waiting  with “the fruit of the day.”  We moved away when they were eight and nine years old.  And that’s what they remember most about our old apartment—Helen with her basket of fresh fruit offering “the fruit of the day.”


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