Women of Valor

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The House on Taylor Road

Barbara Myerhoff, 1935 - 1985

"As a child, I was a notoriously bad eater, and Sofie [my grandmother] took this on as a personal challenge. We spent hours and months, sitting in the breakfast nook in the kitchen of the house on Taylor Road in Cleveland, spread before us the special morsels that she prepared to tempt me. We looked out the windows together, past our yard to the houses on the hill. For each bite I took, she gave us entry into one of the houses, and told a different story each day, about the people who lived inside.

"These accounts informed my entire life, more than any teacher or book or country I later encountered.... Sofie knew and taught me that everyone had some story, every house held a life that could be prepared and known, if one took the trouble. Stories told to oneself or others could transform the world. Waiting for others to tell their stories, even helping them do so, meant no one could be regarded as completely dull, no place people lived in was without some hope of redemption, achieved by paying attention. Boredom was completely banished by this appraoch, a simple essential lesson that decades later was to be the most basic message I tried to convey to my own students.

Notes: 
  1. Entire quote from Myerhoff, Barbara, Number Our Days (New York: Dutton, 1978) 240.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Barbara Myerhoff - The House on Taylor Road." (Viewed on April 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/myerhoff/house-on-taylor-road>.