Laura Bor and Naomi Haber

Recorded November 29, 2008 Archived November 29, 2008 00:00 minutes
Audio not available

Interview ID: MBX004655


Laura Bor, 87, is interviewed by her granddaughter, Naomi Haber, 17, about her life.

Subject Log / Time Code

Grew up in Brooklyn, NY; description of her sisters; “they were pests”
story about Mrs. Buckley in junior high school English class punishing her for talking too much.
story of how her parents met; description of her mother; Russia
description of her father; orphaned in China; how he came to the United States from China.
Coca Cola is the secret ingredient to her pot roast.


  • Laura Bor
  • Naomi Haber


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00:04 My name is Naomi Haber. I am 17. It is November 29th. 2008, and we are in Northampton, Massachusetts and I am Laura Bor granddaughter.

00:19 My name is Laura Bor. I'm 87 years old. Today's date is November 29th 2008. Where in Northampton Massachusetts, and I'm being interviewed by my granddaughter Naomi.

00:38 All right, Grandma. Where and when were you born by was born in Brooklyn. New York on June 22nd 1921. So you grew up in Brooklyn. Yes, I did. What was your childhood like?

00:53 I had a very happy childhood because I had a very nice mother and a very wonderful father.

01:02 And two little sisters siblings like.

01:08 The middle one was a crabby Apple. That was Aunt Norma. And the younger one was Aunt, Niecy and she was a cute little girl. What were they like growing up? They were pissed. They always wanted to follow me. Cuz that was the oldest and they always followed me around. Who are your parents?

01:33 My parents will pull and Ruth cancer. And where do they come from? Like, what is your ethnic background? My mother came from Russia, and my father came from England.

01:48 And they were wonderful parents. The two of them.

01:52 How. So I was, so my mother was very connected to a health. She wanted us to be healthy. She was Joey's, always tastes chasing us outside to get the fresh air. And sometimes it was so fresh growing up in Brooklyn, but she chased this outside all the time and my father was very interested in what we ate and how we slept.

02:22 All right.

02:25 How was school? Did you enjoy school? I like school. Very much. I did well. In school. What did you want to be? When you grew up?

02:35 I really had no aspirations to be anything special. I thought I was going to be a secretary which I was.

02:44 What you do for fun when you were a child?

02:47 We played outside a lot, we jump rope, and we played potsie. Do you know what parts of yours? And I don't know what spicy. It's drawing of a diagram on the sidewalk with chalk and Squid and boxes and you put box. Number one next to box number to then, on top of that was box. Number 3, then came four and five and you had to jump these and turn around and jump back.

03:30 Who are your favorite relatives?

03:33 My granddaughter. If aside, for me, aside from you, my favorite relative is my sister Niecy.

03:44 She has always been my favorite.

03:48 Of course, my children.

03:50 Naturally on my favorites.

03:53 Well, when did you first find out that you're going to be a parent? And how did you feel?

03:58 I was kind of surprised because I was very young and newly married.

04:06 And I didn't plan for my first pregnancy. And so was a surprise.

04:13 Can you describe the moment when you first saw your child the first time?

04:19 I thought it was a miracle that I could have produced something like that. Beautiful, baby.

04:27 That's so sweet. How has being a parent changed you?

04:32 Has given me a lot of responsibilities, but fortunately, I had my mother who shared my responsibilities with me.

04:42 Do you have any favorite childhood stories about your kids growing up?

04:48 I have many story, many too many to tell, not even just one, not even just one didn't get into trouble of any time. I know both my girls were very good girls.

05:00 They stayed out of trouble.

05:02 What's good? Will do you have any stories from your childhood when you were going up?

05:09 I had a very happy childhood. My father, particularly was very concerned with us. Children my sisters and I and he was very, very good to us. Very good. My mother was a Stern tax Taskmaster. She made us jump to it. She said, jump.

05:33 Giovanni Classic Family stories or jokes or songs or

05:39 Not really. My sister Niecy went you to know his aunt Niecy is was the baby of the family and she was my father's pet really was even though she was his third girl child.

05:56 But he still considers heard the favorites of all.

06:02 What about you? Were you? The favorite Rita? I was never the favorites. I never the favorites, but I always got good marks in school. So my mother and father were proud of me and my report cards.

06:19 Do you have any teachers who were, particularly strong influence in your life?

06:25 Yeah, I had Miss Buckley in junior high English.

06:30 And I was a big talker and school and she would constantly telling me to be quiet and I never was one time. She came up the aisle and grabbed me by my hair and bounce me up and down in my chair, by my hair said now, will you keep quiet? What can I do? Always made the honor roll?

07:03 What is your best memory of childhood? The worst memory as well?

07:09 I have really no worse memories. I've all good memories of my childhood. I remember my father would take us to Silver. Rods drug store for an ice cream soda, if we got particularly good marks or good report card, or things like that, and we got rewarded with an ice cream soda.

07:32 Who was the most important person in your life?

07:37 I think my father.

07:39 He was a very kind man. I'm very quiet person and my mother was exactly the opposite to him. So he impressed me the most

07:53 What are the most important lessons you've learned in life?

07:59 I guess to be honest with people and to respect people as I would expect them to respect me.

08:09 What are you most proud of in your life?

08:12 My children and my grandchildren.

08:21 If you could hold onto one memory from your life for eternity, what would it be?

08:29 It would be.

08:33 When my mother was still alive, my father died, so young that his memories of him a faint, but my mother was a very moving influence in my life.

08:48 And she move many people, she was very important to so many people that she's the most important memory. I have even to this day, the family to stay. Yeah. She's so important. Have you personally experienced any miracles?

09:06 Miracles, I guess the miracle of birth.

09:10 If you and your daughters.

09:14 Of me and my daughter, Sam. That's good back to when you are relatively young. What did you do for your job? Like, what? What did you do with my job? I was a secretary. Did you like it? I love it. I love being with people and in a big office and I enjoyed it. The work. Where did you work? As a secretary?

09:41 I work for a sporting goods supply company. And when I finish the job and I was married and I was resigning from the job. I gave the job to my cousin who then gave it when she, resign gave it to my sister Norma. So we passed the job down in the family cuz it was a very nice company to work for when we all enjoyed working for them. How long did you work there?

10:10 I work there about 2 years. I would say.

10:14 Did you work at a school to? You told me that used to be out of school after school after school at the same school that your daughters went to? No, no.

10:27 All right. Can you tell me about your religious beliefs in spiritual beliefs?

10:33 I don't have very strong religious beliefs, or spiritual beliefs at all. But I know that I'm was born Jewish and I am Jewish in my heart.

10:46 And that's about it.

10:49 All right, and how would you like to be remembered?

10:53 I'd like to be remembered just a kind loving person who is always honest with her feelings.

11:02 And that's about it.

11:05 That's it. Thank you. Alright. Thank you.

11:13 Boro Park.

11:17 It was a neighbor, heard the private houses or four family houses.

11:24 And it was mostly a Jewish neighborhood and a smattering of Italians.

11:34 Very vaguely.

11:39 I had a friend named Lucille.

11:42 And a friend named Florence.

11:45 And they were good friends, and we went to school together. We came home together. We play together. We did everything together.

11:56 Now as I grew up and I met my husband, first husband who was not very friendly person. I lost all the friends I had.

12:10 Do to him.

12:17 How my parents met?

12:20 My father was friends with my mother sister's husband.

12:28 They met in the army.

12:30 And my uncle Julius brought my father home to meet his wife and my mother her sister.

12:41 And that's how they meant.

12:43 And you talk to me.

12:52 She was very pretty, very pretty. She had a slight Jewish accent.

13:00 And she said she hadn't Naomi's dimples and Naomi got them. I don't know. You had Naomi's dimples.

13:09 And she was always, smiling, always smiling.

13:14 I'm saying that you would say all the time.

13:18 No, not particularly particularly.

13:25 She didn't speak Yiddish except one of her sisters got together and they didn't want us to know what they were saying. They spoke Yiddish.

13:37 I'd spoke it'sh. I picked up the language very quickly and I am good at languages. So I could understand what they were saying. Will the time they didn't know it but I don't understand them.

13:53 So on, I can speak it.

13:57 But I haven't had practice for years.

14:03 She spoke about Russia and the boys. She went out with that she ran with and they were mostly Gentile Russians.

14:14 And she was not allowed to go out with them, but you went anyway.

14:19 What time do, you know what, part of recipe came from?

14:23 She's a Twist on the border of Poland. So one day it was Poland. The next day was Russia. So that's all if she ever said.

14:39 I remember he was a stocking, man.

14:42 With black curly hair.

14:45 And a ruddy complexion, which I inherited.

14:50 And did he have an accent to British? I know you didn't had no accent at all.

14:57 In his twenties early twenties.

15:02 No, he had Sports sisters, but they were orphaned in China.

15:09 That's how they got to China. We never found us.

15:14 But my father was not one for telling stories.

15:18 Was it when he told us the story, it was usually a story a story. Like, I know, a made-up story. So we've never really knew about his past and his upbringing, all we know where we came from China with a family of the last risk family, which was his friends family, and his friend married, my mother sister.

15:47 And that's how he met my mother.

15:51 And married her and they are family to this day. I spoke to my cousin this morning. Who was the daughter of the sister of my mother, who married this man that my father knew.

16:07 It's very complicated.

16:13 Two daughters. Two daughters.

16:19 Well, my oldest daughter is Susan.

16:23 Goldstein.

16:25 And she's a beautiful blue-eyed brunette.

16:31 Very sweet woman.

16:35 She's unfortunately is widowed Young.

16:40 And she has two sons.

16:44 Who are both married married and have children of Their Own?

16:50 And we were all together yesterday, right?

16:56 And they will have a happy life. Thank goodness.

17:03 Oh, she was a brat.

17:07 The brats. She wanted all the attention she could get.

17:12 All the attention that we hadn't had to be about her.

17:17 Remember.

17:19 When she had to take the attention away, is always read me a story. Tell me a story. Get me this, buy me that it's always about her.

17:33 Fortunately, she's changed a lot.

17:39 Madeline is Naomi's mother.

17:44 And she's a wonderful giving human being.

17:48 And she was a good child and easy child to raise.

17:52 I had to always look to see what she was looking at, because she would never tell me anything she wanted, but if we go to a store, I catch her looking at something. And I know she wanted it. So I'd say let's go by this, you know, and do you want it?

18:11 Shrug her shoulders, you know when she know, I know she wanted it. So I usually board. It's

18:20 But she was an easy child to raise very easy.

18:27 No, she lives in Northampton.

18:33 My grandchildren. Now, you're talkin my grandchildren, who are my grandchildren, David, and Paul and they both married and have families of Their Own.

18:49 And then I have Naomi is my granddaughter. My only granddaughter.

18:55 And she'll get married soon to. I'm sure and that's it. That's my grandchildren. I have to break grandchildren. Three great-grandchildren Avenue Warren. I keep forgetting about her.

19:13 What, what do you love most about your grandmother? Oh, wow, all the knowledge. She has. And she's so sweet, and so nice. And she's so fun to be around. We go visit her so much fun. We take her out to eat and watch movies. She just a lot of fun to be around.

19:34 Do you have any special memories that you remember? Which is particularly about if your grandma? So many, I remember going to her house in Georgia. I'm not sure how old it was, probably like a seven or eight or nine and we just go swimming in her pool and Grandpa and then I was sitting underneath an umbrella, and you gave me a bagel toasted bagel with like butter on it and eating it under the nice hundred degree weather. It was really nice.

20:13 I kept you well fed.

20:21 Oh, Pot. Roast, Pot. Roast.

20:28 Secret ingredient.

20:34 Coca-Cola.

20:39 Who is Joel a secret?

20:53 Anything that you hope that they can learn from you and your experience here, you know, I just hope they remember me. Kindly, as I remember them forever after.

21:08 Another than that, I hope they have only good memories of me.

21:15 Thank you. You're welcome.