18 January 2013

Published January 16, 2013 by rochellewisoff



We are a growing community of blogging writers who come together each week from all parts of the globe to share individual flash fictions from a single photo prompt. The prompt goes up early Wednesday morning  CST to give each writer time to compose a story by Friday. Some use the photo as a mere inspiration while others use it as an illustration. Use your imagination and think outside the box.

WARNING! This is an addiction for which there is no 12 step recovery program.


Write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)


Make every word count.


  • Copy your URL to the Linkz collection. You’ll find the tab following the photo prompt. It’s the little white box to the left with the blue froggy guy. Click on it and follow directions. This is the best way to get the most reads and comments.
    • Make note in your blog if you’d prefer not to have constructive criticism.


Should you find that you’ve made an error you can delete by clicking the little red ‘x’ that should appear under your icon. Then re-enter your URL. (If there’s no red x email me at Runtshell@aol.com. I can delete the wrong link for you).

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The photo this week is mine. It’s a still life of “stuff” that I used as a model for a watercolor which is the book cover of my short story anthology, THIS, THAT AND SOMETIMES THE OTHER that debuted in November 2011. You can find it in the right hand margin of this blog.😉 In any case I’m interested to  see how many stories it will inspire this week. 

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Copyright-Rochelle Wisoff-Fields


get the InLinkz code

This week my story is not so much fiction as autobiography.  My maternal grandfather came to America in 1903, as my mom was fond of saying, with nothing but the clothes on his back. After coming through Ellis Island, he slept under park benches in Central Park and eventually hitchhiked to the Midwest. At least this is the story I’ve gleaned from my mother and cousins.  Grandpa wasn’t a warm fuzzy person and it’s only been the past few years through research for my novel that takes place in turn of the 20th century Eastern Europe that I’ve drawn some conclusions. They may or may not be accurate but I’ll never know because I was too afraid of him to ask. 

Click here to learn about the world from which my ancestors escaped.  

Genre: Memoir


   Every Sunday my mother dragged me to my grandfather’s house. She said I should get to know him, learn from him. After all he’d survived Russia’s pogroms. My family history.

            But I asked no questions. He offered no stories.

            One week mom took a vinyl copy of Fiddler on the Roof for him to hear. His timeworn torso sank into his recliner as he listened to Tevye the milkman sing.

            “If I were a rich man, yaba-deebee-deebee-bum.”

            Forty years later I still remember how my austere grandfather’s granite-hard eyes transformed to liquid quartz.  

            “My father sang…just like that.” 




The dark side of Fiddler on the Roof

The dark side of Fiddler on the Roof


105 comments on “18 January 2013

    • Thanks Happy,
      I snapped the photo specifically to use as a model for the painting for my book cover. This was after a conversation with my publisher who didn’t care much for my original idea for it. She said I needed to capitalize on the Jewish stories.


  • That’s a beautiful story. I love the picture of his eyes like liquid quartz.
    I think this is going to be a hard prompt this week. I was curious how you choose the pictures for the prompts? Do people submit them to you?


  • I just love the imagery in this, eyes like liquid quartz! Reminds me of my own grandad. Not sure how to approach it this week, hopefully your story will inspire me.


  • I was a little leery to read this one… given our Godmother’s track record of late. It is a sweet story, but with serious memories behind the last line. I liked the use of a recliner at Grandfather’s house… oh God, that’s probably my next furniture purchase, I fear. I’ll be back later.


    • Dear Debra,
      You were certainly up to the challenge this week.
      As for memories of my grandpa, I have two fond ones of him. This was one. I will never forget the look on his face. I believe it was the first time I ever saw that look on his face. Almost childlike. I think he must have lost his parents at a very young age. In any case, now when I hear “If I were a Rich Man” I think of Grandpa and I feel the depth of my roots.


  • Rachel this is a fine piece of work. Felt as real to me as it is to you. By the way I love the Movie. I watched it a few months back on PBS with my girls. The oldest loved it. I saw it in the movie theater as a child and I can still remember the whole night. The diner I went to and what I ate… Just goes to show you how some moments and stories stick out. It’s a shame your grandpa never offered up a story but I suppose it was hard to find a good one to tell to a child.


  • Once again, truly beautiful. I loved the photo… all those items together make a poignant picture. Did you intend for the crayons to symbolize the passing of traditions and stories on to the next generation? I took it that way, anyway, and loved the idea of faith and history being ever new from generation to generation.


  • Rochelle,
    I love the watercolor, too. Beautiful. And, your story, memorable. Your story called to mind the time that I performed Fiddler on the Roof. I was one of the daughters and had a few lines. It was a great run of the show and was extended! But, I will, of course, struggle with my own story here.


  • i have a very close friend whose father (a russian jew) died recently. that father had a father, obviously the grandfather of the very close friend. when that grandfather was a boy, he was in a nazi camp with his uncle. when they were lined up to be shot – all in the back – the uncle pulled the boy in front of him and told him to fall into the ditch and don’t make a sound until hours past dark. the boy did just that. if not, my close friend would not be my close friend. nor would i have known her amazing father who recently passed. sensitively done.


    • Dear Rich,
      I’ve heard so many stories like that. I also have friends who are children of Holocaust survivors. The effect on our generation is more profound than we realize.
      Thank your for kind comment and sharing your friend’s story. .


  • Hi Rochelle,
    A very moving piece from your memory of your grandfather. I loved the watercolor version of this photo.🙂 It’s an extremely tough prompt and I can’t wait to read what others come up with. For mine I just used crayons to build upon a story. Couldn’t come up with anything to incorporate everything!🙂


    • Dear Perry,
      it’s only been the last twenty years or so I’ve found myself wishing I knew more about Grandpa (oddly enough, he was never Zaydeh). Twice in my lifetime was he openly emotional. This was one time the other was when I joined an Orthodox SYO and sought to learn Hebrew on my own.
      Shalom and thanks for your comments,


  • Dear Rochelle,

    The ripples of your remembrance move ever outward and will gently touch many souls. I think your Grandfather would be very proud of the way you’ve kept his memories alive through your story. You may not have been asking any questions, but you had your eyes and ears open, a characteristic many writers would do well to cultivate in their own lives.

    Thanks for keeping the bar raised high every week.




    • Dear Doug,
      Thank you for your encouraging comments. I still weep at times that I didn’t have my eyes and ears open earlier.
      Happy we were able to share our close up yet distant grandfathers this week. As for the bar, it’s writers like you who inspire me to aim high.


  • Loving this peek into how the past stays with someone, even someone not given to showing too many emotions. Mine is scheduled for the morning, so hope I will be here to add it then. If not I have a backup plan.


  • Hi Rochelle,
    I thought this was a beautiful story made even better for being real. I could really relate. My dad’s father was gruff and scary. A few years ago I was talking to one of my cousins and i remarked that I don’t remember ever having a conversation with him. “You didn’t have conversations with him,” she replied. Thanks for sharing this. Ron


  • Rochelle, this is a beautiful story, all the more so for it being true. I’m glad I didn’t read yours before writing mine, but the grandparents in mine are only alive in my head (and hopefully in the minds and hearts of my readers.) Times with grandparents and parents are so precious, especially once they are no longer with us.



  • Very nice story Rcohelle as always. And more so because this one is autobiographical. It is very difficult to be artistic about one’s own life stories, or maybe that’s just me!🙂
    I really like eye transformation, I could almost picture it. Also “timeworn torso”. Beautiful.


  • Beautifully written memoir, which evoked personal memories from your readers. I did a StoryCorp interview with my Mom when she was 90 and learned things she’d never told me in the previous 50 years. Thanks for putting the crayons in the photo. It’s the only thing that saved me.


  • Very moving. I had a similar problem. My grandfather fought in WWII. I know he was at Dunkirk and later Anzio. I always wanted to hear about his experiences, but he never wanted to talk about it. Now it’s too late.


  • A very lovely piece Rochelle. When I was a child and my paternal grandfather was still alive, I wasn’t much interested in what he had to say. Now, as an adult I would love to hear all those stories he must have had.


  • Hi Rochelle
    I find your story sad, moving, yet strong all at the same time. Your photograph has stimulated so many stories in the “Memoir” genre this week, definitely touched a personal chord in a lot of the Fictioneers this time.
    Best wishes


  • Good one Rochelle. My parents have similar mysterious stories, not about immigration but about hardship and so forth. I dread to think what this generation will have to tell their offspring – but, I suppose every generation has thought that. They went through it so that we wouldn’t have to but where are the stories? Meh.


  • Fantastic, moving story, Rochelle. And I loved the picture; the incongruous crayons absolutely *made* it for me. As you’ll see, I’ve stuck with the “illustration” interpretation again. I do try to think outside the box, but it seems my muse prefers to be constrained!


  • Very strong story, it brings up memories of my own stern grandfather who I was always afraid of. I’ve heard stories from my mother that he was sterner when younger. Still those soft moments where only the eyes melt I can recall. I love the story.

    And it was a very tough picture to write about…


  • I am trying to catch up a bit on these stories, and couldn’t remember if I commented on yours but liked it, as I see my gravatar pic there, although I read yours first off..🙂 I am glad the grandfather could still remember back to the past, and have such memories.


    • Dear Sunshine,
      I’m glad you read about the pogroms. I hope others did as well. While I adore Fiddler on the Roof, it’s a pasteurized version of the horrors. Most are familiar with (and some appallingly deny) the Nazi holocaust , however not so much the pogroms. I feel it’s important to know that Hitler didn’t just rise up out of nowhere and invent antisemitic genocide. .


  • Touching, I can relate. My dad is just like your grandfather….I am that pesky child that wants to gather as much info as possible. Many time in their silence they are hurting….I could feel the pain of your grandfather…thanks for sharing.


    • Dear YJ,
      That must’ve been difficult growing up to have an austere father. I’m sure Grandpa harbored deep wounds. But a child doesn’t see it. The child wants the adult’s approval.
      Thank you for sharing this bit of yourself. And thank for the comments.


  • It’s unforgettable when a hard-to-reach relative opens up, even if it’s only for a moment. Well written, Rochelle – I can feel so much walled off that he might have told but couldn’t or wouldn’t.


    • Dear Sharon,
      it was a moment that has stuck with me. A rare glimpse into my own ancestry. I wasn’t more than eleven at the time (a little more than 40 years). But in that hour Grandpa opened up and told us a little about his parents. My great grandmother’s name was Yenta. Who nu?


    • Dear Sarah,
      One never knows what will be a memory trigger. I know I’ll never forget it myself. One of those life defining moments. I can’t watch Fiddler without feeling my heritage deep in my bones and imaging my maternal great grandfather singing, “Biddeee biddee bum.”


  • Way cool! The last line — SCORE! Our grandparents, no matter where they came from, seemed to have had some interestingly bittersweet lives. Agreed? Makes me wonder what three generations from now will think of us.

    Home run! BTW, I’m sure your grandpa never sang that song like Gwyn Stefani … and if you knew what I meant by that, you’d agree.


    • Dear Kent,
      Just watched the Gwyn Stefani version. I may have to go back into therapy.
      In any case I agree about grandparents. I hope my progeny will remember their eccentric Bubbe with fondness. And will read the stories I’ve written.


  • Thanks for your ‘welcome to the group’ message. Much appreciated. I appreciate and identify with your story. My relationship with my maternal grandfather was the most influential of my family relationships. I think it’s probably the case with many people. Underestimated. As well as the sacrifices our grandparents have made/make so that there is a society there for us to grow into. He knew the First World War trenches, won medals for bravery, lost a brother in France then. I never knew my paternal grandfather – he was lost at sea during the Second World War. Speech over! Ann


  • So many of our memories are kept alive by sensual stimuli like smell and sound and you are lucky to have such a warm association with the wonderful music from “Fiddler”. Enjoyed sharing in your story.


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