My Childhood Fish—Political and Personal

Coming Soon – to be published
July 2019 in

Under the Gum Tree, a literary arts magazine

A personal essay with reminiscences from an Estonian-American childhood lived during the Cold War, and how anchovy (or, preferably, marinated sprat) open-faced sandwiches came to carry unique significance . . .

Symbols of ethnic pride and resolve, these little fish sandwiches were traditionally curated and ubiquitous especially after ceremonies remembering Estonian independence . . . in the rooms of the Estonian Civic Club on Manhattan’s East 34thStreet, elder-ladies unfailingly set tables with white tablecloths, flowers, percolated coffee—hot, dark and strong—and always platters of these little fish sandwiches.

And how a refugee-mother’s own longing for a childhood fish eventually came to mirror her daughter’s . . .

My mother’s perch was lovingly made, the just-warm, salted, golden fillets arranged on a plate with twisted slices of lemon and fresh parsley sprigs.