Granny’s Cats

I’ve been following a new site; which is EXACTLY what it sounds like– video of older Jews telling jokes– the setup is great, the idea is great, and as one of my facebook friends remarked recently “The link is gold!”

They recently asked people to contribute jokes that they’ve heard older Jews tell– so I contributed a couple of stories about my Granny…

You can read that contribution on their website here: or if you read it below, you also get to see a picture of my Granny!

Enjoy– and if you have any stories or old jokes, either send them to the website listed above, or post them in the comments!


Granny’s Cats

My Granny was born December 31, 1900 and passed away December 24, 2004. She had an eighth grade education, and in 1938 her husband left her and her three children, disappearing for parts unknown. My dad was a year old at the time.

Granny started a jewelry stringing business (called Woodman’s, which was her sister’s husbands name — she felt that Gertsacov was far too ethnic) and did jewelry work well into her 90’s. Her brand of expertise in pearl stringing was legendary, and some of the finest jewelry shops still sent their most precious stuff to her. Jewelry stringing is a lost art. She strung the pearls of many society ladies, politicians’ wives, and gangsters’ molls — she did them all.

Granny always came off as kind of a hard person. She lived a hard life through the Depression, but she loved several jokes that she told and re-told through the years. She liked these because they were clever, had word-play, and you had to understand in order to get it. She didn’t like slapstick and physical comedy that much, which is kind of surprising, since I ended up as a professional clown and performer. She saw me perform several times, and always said “Marvelous, Marvelous.” But I don’t think she ever really loved it. Ah well.

Here are a couple of her favorites: (some of them are more along the lines of a little routine she would do. She was a woman of routines.)

About a person who was a chatterbox: “She is a woman of VERY FEW WORDS.”

On getting into a car to go home: “Home, James, and don’t spare the Hosses.”

If you were feeling ill: “You’ve got to go home and get into bed with a nurse.”

And this was probably her favorite joke:

I know a woman who sleeps with cats.
Now ask me who it is.

(the person asks, who is it?)

Mrs. Katz!


and sometimes Mrs. Nussbaum.






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