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[Pages 77-78]

Rise O' Well…

Translated by Judy Grossman

Rasya Tal (Kagan): Not far from the Orlins', we leased a plot of land in which we planted all kinds of vegetables for our own use. On the way to this plot there was a spring, and in the hot summer days we would stop beside it and drink from its waters. There was also a spring on the way to the Charits', which was a wide dirt road, and we also used to stop there. In the winter, when the water froze, we would break a layer of ice and draw out water with a pail.

Rivka Levitt: At the entrance to the forest there were springs, and I can still hear the murmuring of the bubbling water. A fence, with a red-painted roof, on which all the lovers' names were engraved, surrounded the spring.

I especially remember the priest's well.

Chaim Levitt: There was a cross on every well, and on our way to the forest we would see the Gentiles pass by the well and cross themselves.

 

By streams of water, on the way to the forest:
the sisters Rasya and Tzirka Kagan

 

Beside the well
Top: Dov (Berke), son of Hassia-Leah Levitt
Left: Zussel, son of Haya-Hene Levitt

 

Henia Sneh (Blacher): At the corner of the street, very close to our house, there was a well that served as a meeting place. Perhaps that is why I knew and remember all the people from the shtetl.

Rasya Tal (Kagan): We also lived near that well. It was difficult to get to, especially in the winter, and there was always slippery mud there. I remember that there was also a well beside the Poritz' house. Our Gentile maid used to go out in the morning with a yoke for carrying water, fill up two pails, and return and pour the water into the barrel that stood on the porch. She probably went back and forth five or six times. On Sundays, when she didn't work, we would go to the well to draw the water.

Rivka Shteinman (Shub): I think that that Gentile woman's sole job was drawing water from the well for all the homes in the shtetl. She would go from house to house, carrying two pails, and fill the barrel at the entrance to every house. The barrel would empty out quickly, especially on the day that we cleaned the house, and in the absence of the Gentile woman, we were forced to draw water from the well. I don't remember the well being fenced, and it was really dangerous to stand close to it, especially in the winter.

Shayke Glick: When water was drawn up with a pail, some of it would spill on the sides of the well, and in the winter it immediately froze, which created a pile of ice. It was an annoying job to scrape off the ice, and more than once we were forced to use axes. It was dangerous to stand on such a pile, because you could easily slip and fall into the well.

Rivka Shteinman (Shub): My sister Rachel used to lower the pail into the water, and I, the younger one, used to hold on to her so that she didn't fall in. More than one night I had nightmares in which I dreamt that someone had slipped and fallen in, and I woke up in fright.

 

Repose in the meadow
From right to left, top row: Rasya (daughter of Yisrael-Velvel) Glick and Sarka Melamed
Bottom: Rachel Blacher, Chava Shub, Rivka Melamed, Zeldka Charit.

 

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