My DGM is a crocheter extraordinaire. It is interesting that the only place, besides her home, I have seen her get the hook and yarn out and crochet was Casino. What, you can not imagine me in the Casino? I used to be a regular!
Here is how it happened.
When we came to the US we were not eligible for any government help extended to the new immigrants. I was too old for school and too poor for college. And my English did not extend past “Hello” and a smile, kind of like my Hebrew now. So, while we learned some English and oriented ourselves we joined the Amazing Casino Industry. It worked like this. The ticket on a special bus, taking us to the Casino cost $10.00. When we came to the Casino, we got a voucher for $20.00. Then we were supposed to go and play. The bus stayed in Atlantic City for 6 hours! Add this to the 4 hour trip and you will understand that the $10.00 each of us earned were not “easy money”. Grandmother took our voucher and changed them into quarters. Then we went to another cashier to change the coins into “real money”. On the way there Grandma would drop a quarter into one of the machines. Never more than one. We came in any weather. I remember sitting huddled on boardwalk wondering if my behind has actualy frozen to the bench I was sitting on. Of course, I was an exception on the bus. Most of the “regulars” were old, very old. They were trying to supplement their pensions and help the kids in a new country.
When it was raining we would stay inside. My DGM would pull out her crochet, and I pulled out my book. Hours went by… Why I did not learn how to crochet then? I think Grandma has discouraged me from it. I was made to understand that I was supposed to be too busy to want to spend time crocheting. At some point I started wandering away, then started trying to chat up other people, who were sitting there. This is how I began to learn to speak English and gain confidence.
Luckily I found my first job soon enough and could stop the bus trips, yet I will always fondly remember the time spend with my Grandmother and her “Casino crowd”.