The Angel of Death did come to Mim’s family in 1930, but not for Sidney, thank heavens. In June of that year, Mim got the news that her father had died.
“Mama wrote that he went peacefully in his sleep,” she told me. “They buried him in a tiny Jewish cemetery near their town. Papa always did like the countryside. Mama’s going back to Paris. She feels at home there.”
“Say the word and we’ll leave for France,” I said, because I usually could read Mim’s mind.
“Maybe next year,” she said. “Sidney’s too young to leave in Ephraim’s care for so long, and I don’t want to take him.”
We celebrated Sidney’s recovery with an airplane ride. Oscar was a competent pilot as well as a cook and a man of other desirable attributes. This would be the last year we were really togethera pity, but he needed a wife, not someone like me.
Oscar had a Spartan C3 biplane with space for three people. I’d been a passenger dozens of times, and I convinced Mim that it was safe for her to go with Sidney. Oscar did little more than circle the airfield, but Sidney was thrilled.
So was Mim! She adored that first flight. My best friend had never been in a plane before, and I remember she and Oscar had a dozen more flights together after that. Had she more time and money, I think she would have gotten a pilot’s license. We held a party that year when Amy Johnson became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
Our other big party that year was a costume ball on the Saturday night after Halloween. Mim decided that we should honor Arthur Conan Doyle, who died that year. She had always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and told me that she had read The Lost World at about the time she first met Serakh. Ah, Mim. There was always that strange and wondrous side to her.
Anyway, Mim dressed up as Irene Adler, the one woman Sherlock admired. D.H. Lawrence had died that year, too, so I came as his most famous character, Lady Chatterley. Lawrence was an accomplished painter, too, although I’ll refrain from showing you any his work, as his main subjects were nudes.
We celebrated in 1931, too, after it was announced that Jane Addams had won the Nobel Peace Prize. She shared the prize with Nicholas Murray Butler, the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“Jane Addams has always been my model,” Mim told me, while we were making arrangement for our Addams Soirée. “She believes in woman suffrage, and world peace, and helping people lift themselves from poverty. And she acts on her beliefs. Not like me.”
I couldn’t let that remark stand. I put down my pen and mock glared at her. “Miriam Josefsohn Jacobowitz, you risked everything to campaign for woman suffrage when you were 16, and you’ve spent practically every day since helping your family and community. You volunteer for the Red Cross and the League of Women Voters. Not to mention whatever you do with that Serakh person.”
I had always refrained from asking about details of Mim’s “trips” and she never did tell me more than the basics.
Mim shrugged in that “I don’t do enough” sort of way. And then she told me what I had already sensed. “Serakh is coming between Ephraim and me.”
I’d seen the looks he gave Mim whenever she brought home books from the library about Rhodes or the history of the Jewish people. “Is he jealous?
“No,” she said.” I think he’s afraid that I’ll disappear some day and never come back.”
“Is that a possibility?”
She paused a moment, her hand tapping the table. “Yes, Florrie, if something goes wrong, I suppose it is.”