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Zucchini, Garlic, And A Gallon Of Red Wine

By Harry Glickman, with Jeannette Glickman

Jack Pruzan, a contemporary of my brother Louie, was nine years older then me. When I was twenty and going steady he became important. Jack and Grace were the first of Louie's friends to marry; both Jen and I were attracted to their way of life. Jen was a student at the University of Washington and I was an apprentice cutter at the Diamond Cloak and Suit Company. The depression was in full swing, so I was happy to be earning six dollars a week; there just were no jobs for us high school grads or hardly anyone else for that matter.

Jack Pruzan was one of the exceptions. He had a civil service job with Seattle City Light Co. It was common knowledge in the community that he was earning $25 each and every week. With this steady income he established what looked to me a utopian way of life. Married to his first and only girlfriend they lived in a small cottage with a large yard, and in proper order, produced a son and a daughter. They dug up the yard and planted a substantial vegetable garden, the first to my knowledge in the Seattle Jewish community. In 1937-8 when Jen and I were making plans to marry we would visit the Pruzans whose way of life was an inspiration. The fact that they were left-leaning Socialists contributed to the role model they provided. To clinch the attraction there was the gallon of red wine always on the kitchen table, a bohemian touch that seemed romantic.

Sixty-five years have passed. As I look back it seems that we shared a basic similarity in our approach to life and what it is that brings contentment. Jen and I, having obtained economic security, moved onto a small farm in Israel and have worked hard physically for thirty rewarding years. Jack and Grace visited us regularly. We enjoyed talking with them about what we were presently doing, as well as some reminiscing as we munched a lettuce, cucumber, and tomato salad along with roasted eggplant and garlic from our little garden. They would load up with oranges, pecans, and vegetables to take to their modest rented apartment in Netanya.

When in Seattle we regularly visited with Grace and Jack to enjoy a meal of fresh Whidby Island herring and potatoes, zucchini and other delicacies laced with elephant garlic, and the gallon of red wine from which we managed to refill our glasses a couple of times. Zucchini and garlic were growing faster than we could eat, and became the basis of our meals when in Seattle. We regularly stopped by to load up with these monstrous products from their garden.

It must have been the middle 80's when we received a small package in the mail that was mysterious because of its small size and heavy weight. At that time letter and package explosive devices were being mailed to Israel. The fact that the return address on the package was from an unknown source turned me into the detective that I've always wanted to be. After much sleuthing I learned that my friend, Jack Pruzan, had a warehouse in Seattle full of nuts and bolts. Tons of them were left over from the army surplus business that had been a stepping stone to his successful electric cable business. Knowing that woodworking is my hobby and that I use brass screws for special affect, Jack remembered that in his stock of several million bolts there were these brass screws with especially attractive heads. Arrangements were made to send them to me by courier, some Israeli fundraiser coming through Seattle. After contacting this guy in Ramat Gan and hearing the password 'Pruzan', we opened the package feeling secure that it would not explode.

Having accumulated more wealth than they or we had dreamed possible has not changed our basic concept of what it is that brings contentment. I learned from Jack that improvising and providing for our needs with ingenuity and effort definitely brings more satisfaction than hiring and buying.

Harry Glickman with Jeannette, Jan. 1999

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