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The Color of Water, Family Tree.
Transcript of The Color of Water, Family Tree.
Hudis Shilsky (Mameh)
Fishel Shilsky (Tateh)
Gladys Shilsky (Dee-Dee)
Andrew Dennis McBride
Jacqueline (Jack) Nelson
Linwood Bob Hinson
Ruth's grandmother who lives in New York. Bubeh was one of Ruth's family members who cared for her well being. Bubeh took care of Ruth, at a distance, when she left home after her graduation of high school.
Ruth's Grandfather. He was a jolly man and was known for his long beard. Ruth loved Zaydeh and his wife Bubeh. When he died, it was Ruth's first encounter with death.
Ruth's aunt and Hudis sister. She treated Ruth as if she wasn't good enough or rich enough be to in her family. She was married to Uncle Issac, but was having an affair with her best friend's husband, Mr. Stein. Aunt Mary employed Ruth and Andrew Dennis. Her factory was where Ruth and him Met.
Hudis oldest sister. Laura helped Hudis and her family emigrate to the United States.
Aunt Betsy helped Ruth when she was going through with her abortion. When Ruth married a black man, Betsy wanted nothing to do with Ruth.
Fishel Shilsky being Ruth's father and Hudis' husband, he never truly filled either of those positions. Fishel was a strict, religious man. He was racist, greedy and abusive. He sexually abused Ruth, and mentally and emotionally abused his children and disabled wife.
Ruth's mother who suffered from polio her whole life. She was very reserved, and let her husband treat her as if she was nothing. Ruth loved her mother, Ruth was her eyes and ears in America since she didn't speak any English. Ruth always felt guilty for not taking enough care of her mother, and leaving home, especially after her death.
Sam is Ruth's older brother who was very sensitive and tormented by his father his whole life. Not wanting anything else to do with his father or running his store, he left the house to Chicago at age 15. Sam joined the army. Sam died while fighting in WWII.
Ruth's younger sister Gladys (Dee-Dee) was much shyer than Ruth. Ruth promised Dee-Dee she would never leave home. But Ruth broke that promise. Because of that, Dee-Dee shut Ruth out when she was searching for help.
Andrew-Dennis McBride was Ruth's first husband and the father of her first 8 children. Ruth and him met in her Aunt's factory. Andrew was the first man to show Ruth love. He showed her the inside of the black world, and he was the one who introduced her to Christianity. He is James father. Unfortunity, He passed away when Ruth was pregnant with James.
Hunter is the second husband of Ruth. Hunter entered Ruth's life, and her children's, a few months after the death of her first husband. Hunter was like a save haven to Ruth. They shared most of the same views on things such as religion, education, and how to raise children. Which Ruth and him had 4 of together. Hunter was the father figure to all of Ruth's children. He loved them and they loved him back. Hunter was the one that James looked up to because of his father's absence.
The oldest of all the McBride and Jordan children. Andrew was an artist. He made sure his role as an older brother was succeeded. Andrew became very successful. He marched on Washington and went off to medical school. Ruth was very proud of Andrew. She wanted all of her children to turn out just as he did.
James oldest sister. Rosetta's main goal was to keep her younger siblings out of trouble. Rosetta later went on to become a psychologist.
A.K.A Billy, William is James older brother who would always tease his other siblings. Billy later went to Yale University.
David is James older brother and Williams partner is teasing their siblings. He went on to become University Chairman of Afro-American History at Pennsylvania State University.
Helen is James older sister. She was gentle, naive, talkative, and curious. She is dark skinned and was always compared to her sister Kathy, who has fairer skin. Helen was very passionate about political events. She dropped out of school because "white mans education is not for me." when she dropped out, she became a 'hippie'. Helen left home at age 15 because she was tired of her siblings not agreeing with her views.
The older brother who is closest to James age. James followed Richie through many things. Just like James, Richie has a passion for music. Girls liked Richie. He had a very creative talent. Richard became a chemistry professor.
James older sister who later became a medical office manager.
Kathy is the younger sister of James. she was the "more attractive sister." Many boys would ask James about her, while James questioned why they wanted anything to do with his ugly sister. Kathy grew up to become a special education teacher. Ruth moved in with Kathy once all the other children had grown.
Judy is James half-sister who became a teacher in New York.
Jame's half-brother. Hunter became a computer consultant.
James youngest half-brother who hated their mother's cooking, but would eat it anyway. Henry attended North Caroline A&T University.
Andrew's daughter from a previous marriage, who lived in Harlem. Jake took care of Helen when she ran away from home, she also took care of James for a summer when he was acting up.
Aunt Candis' son. A quiet, humorous, religious man who had a kind heart. Bob looked a lot like Andrew. Because this resemblance, James wanted a closer relationship to him in hopes of getting a glimpse of how his father was. Bob worked in a postal office
Aunt Candis was Andrew's favorite aunt. Candis went to help out Ruth with the kids after Andrew's death. She helped Ruth impress her second husband, Hunter by cooking meals for him before they were engaged.
"Everybody loved Jack. You could talk to Jack about anything."
"I was afraid of Tateh and had no love for him at all. I dreaded him and was relieved anytime he left the house." Ruth, pg. 42
"...he was nobody to fool with, my father. He was hard as a rock." pg. 3
"I've always held that to this day, that guilt, that I left Mameh, because all her life I was the one who translated for her and helped her around. I was her eyes and ears in America...her reason for living just slipped away."
"It's not a bird who flies. A bird who flies is special. You would never trap a bird who flies... Feygele, feygele, gay a veck."
"Sam was like a shadow. He was short and stocky, with a heavy head of hair, thick eyebrows, and heavy arms and legs. Because he was two years older than me, he had plenty of power over me and Dee-Dee, yet he didn't use his older-brother status over us."
"Naw. If they put Jesus in this picture here, and He ain't white, and he ain't black, they should make Him gray. Jesus should be gray."
"My older brother Billy, whose memory would later serve him well enough to take him through Yale University Medical School, marched to the front of the church wearing a suit and tie, faced the congregation, started out, 'When Jesus first came to . . . ' then blanked out completely."
"Helen was at war with the white man and took it home and laid it at Mommy's feet."
"Dennis had finished college. Dennis had gone to Europe. And now, for his crowning achievement, Dennis, oh glorious Dennis, oh mighty Dennis--Dennis! Dennis!--sought the highest, most wonderful, most incredible achievement any human being, any son, could hope to achieve.
Dennis was going to be a doctor. "
"I would walk down the street and some big dude I'd never seen before would say, "Yo. How's Kathy?" "Okay," I'd shrug. I got my nose nearly broken over Kathy a few times. There's nothing worse than having to fight for you crummy, ugly sister whom half the neighborhood was in love with. It was a real problem."
"... one Sunday morning my youngest sister Judy was nine at the time and also played piano, was suddenly pressed into service."
"Marry that man, Ruth. Marry him!"
"If my son grows up to be like Bob, I'll be a happy man."
-James, pg. 254
Jack's husband. Richard taught James many life lessons when he stayed with Richard and his wife over summer vacation. James describes him as a handful for Jack and he always had a lit cigarette between his teeth..
"He could walk into a night-club and sniff danger instantly, backing out right away."
"I remember when Zaydeh died in that apartment. I don't know how he died, he just died."
"Bubeh was a warm, funny woman who spoke no English and was full of life... She was clean as a whistle."
"The children woke up and they were huddled together crying and I started to cry. Part of me died when Dennis died. I loved that man more than life itself and at times I wished the good Lord would have taken me instead of him, because he was a much better person for living than me. He just had so much more to give the world than me. He brought me new life. He revived me after I left my family, brought me to Jesus, opened my eyes to a new world, then passed on himself."
"...I knew he was going to die and I had to blink black my tears. I wanted to tell him that I loved him, that I hoped with all my heart that he would get better, but I could not formulate the words in my mouth."
-James pg. 128
"Her oddness, her complete non-awareness of what the world thought of her, a nonchalance in the face of what I perceived to be imminent danger from blacks and whites who disliked her for being a white person in a black world. She saw none of that."
"I know you're going back. Please don't go back. Promise me you'll stay." She sat on the bed and buried her face in her hands and cried, my little sister. "Promise me," she sobbed. "Promise me you'll stay."
"The certainty that lived inside me began to dissipate; the ache that the little boy who stared in the mirror felt was gone. My own humanity was awakened, rising up to greet me with a handshake as I watched the first glimmers of sunlight peek over the horizon. There's such a big difference between being dead and alive, I told myself, and the greatest gift that anyone can give anyone else is life. And the greatest sin a person can do to another is take away that life."
James is one of the authors of this memoir. As a child, James struggled with identifying who he is. Growing up with a white, Jewish mother, whom he knew very little about her past, he wasn't sure where he came from. James grew up with 11 other siblings. Growing up he goes through behavior problems, such as doing drugs and ditching school. Once James learns about who his mother really is, he becomes more aware of where he belongs. James grows to become a very successful, intellectual man just like his other siblings.
Ruth is a Polish Jewish immigrant. She is a mother to 12 successful children. She is strong. Ruth has endured the situations where any other person would of given up. Ruth did anything and everything for her children. All she wanted in life was for them to be successful and happy, no matter how much pain it put her in. Ruth was very religious, being introduced to Christianity by her first husband, she believed God and education were all anyone needed to survive. In the beginning of the memoir, Ruth did not want to accept her past as a Jew, but as the book progressed we began to see her accept it and appreciate it. Ruth is an exceptional mother, loving wife, and a faithful woman to God.