Bobba [Grandma] Chaya Ita
[Photo:] Bobba Chaya Ita
Whenever you would walk down the street and meet a stooped-over woman of medium height wearing a red head-covering and dressed in a velvet coat and a wide dress colored in such a way that you couldn't decide whether it had been black or dark blue, you knew it was our local Bobba Chaya Ita.
Apart from the number of years borne by her stooped shoulders, her way of walking made her seem like a young woman, her sure steps took her over the streets and alleys, in rain or snow, thunder or storms, day or night. As far as Grandma was concerned there was nothing around that could keep her from her tasks of helping to bring a new baby into the world.
Everyone young and old knew Bobba Chaya Ita. She was good-natured, good-hearted and friendly to everyone. She had a kind word for everybody. She was everybody's Grandma, and she was concerned about everyone's health; she would pray for each person's health.
She was always rushing around like she was scared of missing something. She came on time and had everything ready to bring the new baby into the world (which was her job). She acted as if two lives mother and child were her responsibility. When everything finally finished properly, she thanked G-d for having given her the strength and the opportunity of doing her holy work.
If, G-d forbid, the birth was difficult and labor was arduous, she would shake the heavens and wake up the family to say psalms; she would run to the House of Study, open the Ark containing the Torah scrolls and start crying to G-d to spare the mother.
She considered everyone in town her grandchild, and these grandchildren would call her Grandma, a name that she rightly earned. There was almost no expectant mother in Drohitchin for whom Bobba Chaya Ita didn't officiate as midwife. Her nickname Grandma made people forget her real name, Chaya Ita. Everyone knew who was meant by the mere mention of the word Grandma. She was greatly concerned about her grandchildren, and she did her job perfectly.
She continued her work until July 18, 1918. As usual, she was called to attend to a woman, an expectant mother, not far from Drohitchin. The mother was the wife of Leiba Hausman, the agent of the Tcheramcha Estate. Everything was fine, and the mother gave birth to a baby boy. Grandma spent a week there. At the end of the week Lieba the agent traveled to Drohitchin, taking Grandma along with him. While they were passing the Dobavya Garden, Grandma told the agent that should wanted to stop off and buy some fruit, and he shouldn't wait for her. She said she would return home to Drohitchin on her own. So Lieba went on his way.
A few days went by, and Grandma didn't return. Her grandchildren were sick with worry, and people started looking for her everywhere. But she was nowhere to be found. No effort was spared to find her, but she couldn't be located. It was as if she had never even existed. To this very day no one knows what happened to her.
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Updated 13 Dec 2001 by LA