Fitting Into Toronto: Part II of Our Family Holocaust Chronicle
By Rubin Friedman
The cover photo of Rubin Friedman’s Fitting Into Toronto: Part II of Our Family Holocaust Chronicle speaks volumes. The nattily dressed Friedman family stands in front of the family store as befits the family of the man who once made tailored suits for Marshall McLuhan. In the background lurk two large “Clearance Sale” signs, which foreshadow the family’s business woes. None of the people in the photo can really be said to be smiling. Dapper young Rubin looks like he is squinting into the sun rather than smiling. His older brother Sheldon – a teenager dressed as a man – wears a forced smile as if his cheeks have been stretched by invisible wires. Their parents appear uncomfortable as if they are posing for today’s “don’t smile” passport photos. Rubin’s mother and father are standing next to each other without touching. Rubin’s mother has her hands in her dress pockets as if she is waiting impatiently.
No one appears happy. This assessment may come as a surprise to readers who are familiar with Rubin Friedman as the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin’s “Humour Me, Please” columnist from 2003 to 2012. At times, Rubin regaled Bulletin readers with entertaining tales from his childhood in 1950s Toronto. Some of those stories are included in Fitting into Toronto, the second in Friedman’s family Holocaust chronicle. [Read more…]