What Is Your Favorite Possession?
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What Is Your Favorite Possession?

From a book of recipes to an antique gun, Chana uncovers the possessions Atlanta Jews treasure most.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Rhoda Gleicher
Everyone in my family would agree. My mother, a”h, was the best cook and baker, among other attributes. As a Holocaust survivor, she was our bridge to the alte heim (old country) and knew how to make Shabbos and Yom Tov special with her Old World culinary expertise. My most prized possessions are the index cards on which she wrote the recipes for foods that celebrate the holidays of the Jewish year: marble cake for Shabbos, boiled fish head (feh!) and sweet carrot tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah and stuffed cabbage for Sukkot. Want to know how to make delicious p’tcha, chopped liver or kreplach? I have a card for that!

It took me a while but I managed to get Mom to write down the directions, as she remembered them from her Bubbie, to all of those wonderful recipes that connected her to home. I watched her for years, and then, when she just didn’t have the energy, it was my turn. I’m still working on perfecting tongue and mandelbrot.

On her 90th birthday, we presented her with a cookbook, “Ladles of Love,” containing all those recipes. She autographed each and every book for all the members of our family, the same way she lovingly tended her chicken soup and matzo balls (no box mix!). I hope those cards and cookbooks will be a prized possession with my children and grandchildren to connect their past with the future.

Rhoda Gleicher steps back in time via a prized possession.

Jay Kessler
My favorite possession is this 1863 Manhattan Navy Cap and Ball pistol because it brings back wonderful memories of my mother.

When I was 13, my parents brought me a gift of an 1873 Springfield rifle from New Orleans. Who knew that the gift would lead to a mother-and-son growing interest in antique guns?

Mother and I visited gun shows to scout the antique merchandise, and on Sunday mornings we checked the want ads in the paper. She used to say that we’d been in every basement on Peachtree Battle, hoping to buy antique guns.

Driving home from a gun show in 1957, I was looking through a book that we carried with us, listing gun values. I was afraid we’d overpaid for the 1863 Manhattan Navy we’d just purchased because the length of the gun barrel makes a difference. Rather than continuing home to measure our gun’s barrel, Mother turned into a local dime store, bought a ruler and measured our gun. We were both very relieved that we had purchased the correct gun!

As an adult, thinking about our collecting, it seemed rather bizarre. Why would a dignified Southern lady, under five feet tall, who had never touched a gun, not only take me to collect them, but also get into it herself? Collecting antique watches, cuff links or tie pins would have made sense, but antique guns? I asked my mother and she explained that, at that time in my life, I was a stutterer, and she noticed that when I was involved in buying and bargaining, I didn’t stutter as much. She figured that perhaps the want ads, Peachtree Battle basements and gun shows would help me with my stuttering.

For Jay Kessler, an antique gun brings back wonderful memories.

Ann Tamli
I’m not one to value physical possessions as much as I treasure people and experiences; however, one of my favorite things that I display prominently in my home is a small, wooden statue of Don Quixote de La Mancha.

When I first went to reconnect with Scott Paxton, whom I dated long before my marriage and subsequent divorce, and whom I now consider my life partner, I told myself that if he was a fan of the musical, “Man of La Mancha,” or had any paraphernalia related to the show, I would know that our relationship was bashert, as so many other serendipitous events had already transpired that pointed to us getting back together.

I had grown up listening to and singing the musical most of my life, as it was one of my father’s favorites, and it had become mine, too. So, when I saw the statue of Don Quixote on the shelf in Scott’s home, my jaw dropped, my heart skipped a beat and I just knew that we would get together. And we did.

Scott gave me the statue as a gift, and it now sits on my mantle as a reminder of the many signs that pointed to our reunion.

A favorite musical led to a destined reunion for Ann Tamli.

Adira Kessler
My most precious treasure is my dog, Kino Flo. He is named after lighting equipment used in digital TV, photography and film production. He was a gift to me from my family, particularly my sister, Miriam.

Kino is a white German Shepherd/Pyrenees mix. We adopted him from a local shelter called “Paws Atlanta.” He was the sweetest (and quietest) dog there. He just looked at us with big, hopeful eyes and I guess it was an instance of hashgacha pratis (Divine providence). Kino is sweet-tempered, beautiful, highly intelligent and incredibly loyal. He is my protector, my snuggler, my buddy.

I love my precious Kino Flo. He is my most valued treasure, and I’m so grateful to have him. I hope he lives an exceptionally long life.

Adira Kessler treasures a pet named after lighting equipment.
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