Nana, a tall, imposing woman, would take me firmly in hand as she strode, unafraid, into the squawking, stinking live poultry market that was still in existence in Passaic, New Jersey. Born and raised in Bialystok, which was Russia before World War I and Poland after it, Nana had a facility for languages—she could speak seven of them. This came in handy for her job, working in a store selling women's coats to Russians, Poles, and Germans. After she married the man who brought her to Passaic, they opened a produce shop there. Not particularly glamorous, but she managed to cultivate her many interests. She was a lifelong opera fan; I listened to WQXR with her every Saturday afternoon, to the Texaco-sponsored live broadcasts from the Met. In her younger years, the Yiddish theater was still vibrant, and she loved going to it on Second Avenue. When it waned, she took to Broadway. She also loved the movies, anything with Bette Davis or Barbara Stanwyck, strong women.