Betty  Smith

“But he refused to answer when addressed in English and forbade the speaking of English in his home. His daughters understood very little German. (Their mother insisted that the girls speak only English in the home. She reasoned that the less they understood German, the less they would find out about the cruelty of their father.) Consequently, the four daughters grew up having little communion with their father. He never spoke to them except to curse them. His Gott verdammte came to be regarded as hello and good-bye. When very angry, he’d call the object of his temper, Du Russe! This he considered his most obscene expletive. He hated Austria. He hated America. Most of all he hated Russia. He had never been to that country and had never laid eyes on a Russian. No one understood his hatred of that dimly known country and its vaguely known people. This was the man who was Francie’s maternal grandfather. She hated him the way his daughters hated him. *”


Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
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