Funding for Hometown Histories was provided by the New Jersey Cultural Trust.
The pilot produced a charming and captivating interview between Gail Levenson and her 90-year-old mother Florence Harris.
Florence Harris, subject of the “Family Stories” pilot, shared memories of her grandparents, Russian émigrés who settled in Brooklyn around 1910. He was a Talmudic scholar; she was a determined survivor who led the family to the U.S. and helped it survive the Depression by brewing bathtub gin. Florence’s husband joined the Marines in 1939 at 18. Before his wartime deployment overseas, he was a member of the Drum and Bugle Corps that accompanied Franklin Roosevelt on his recuperative visits to Warm Springs, Georgia. Family stories include recollections of first-hand impressions of the President. Florence herself had a connection with the Roosevelts. She worked for 17 years for a children’s organization founded by First Lady Eleanor. Trudie Lash, the wife of Eleanor’s biographer Joseph Lash, was her co-worker.