My mother used to remind me that everyone in our town was our friend and that we were to respect them and always to remember that there was good in everyone. I soon learned that our citizens were judged for what they do, more than for who they are.
My parents were foreign-born, and when they settled in the little community of Springfield, Tennessee, in the early 1880s, they were the only family of Jewish faith there. But the matter of religion made little difference, since friends were made and cultivated through interests, age groups, and the usual likes and dislikes. People were just concerned with the welfare of their neighbors, and they were quick to be helpful whenever the occasion arose. How well I can recollect that when Sundays came along, my mother used to say, “Go to church with the boys and girls. It’s much better than associating with