Dough: A Memoir

Front Cover
University of Georgia Press, Sep 15, 2010 - Social Science - 192 pages
7 Reviews
Mort Zachter’s childhood revolved around a small shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side known in the neighborhood as “the day-old bread store.” It was a bakery where nothing was baked, owned by his two eccentric uncles who referred to their goods as “the merchandise.” Zachter grew up sleeping in the dinette of a leaking Brooklyn tenement. He lived a classic immigrant story--one of a close-knit, working-class family struggling to make it in America. Only they were rich.

In Dough, Zachter chronicles the life-altering discovery made at age thirty-six that he was heir to several million dollars his bachelor uncles had secretly amassed in stocks and bonds. Although initially elated, Zachter battled bitter memories of the long hours his mother worked at the bakery for no pay. And how could his own parents have kept the secret from him while he was a young married man, working his way through night school? As he cleans out his uncles’ apartment, Zachter discovers clues about their personal lives that raise more questions than they answer. He also finds cake boxes packed with rolls of two-dollar bills and mattresses stuffed with coins.

In prose that is often funny and at times elegiac, Zachter struggles with the legacy of his enigmatic family and the implications of his new-found wealth. Breaking with his family’s workaholic heritage, Zachter abandons his pragmatic accounting career to pursue his lifelong dream of being a writer. And though he may not understand his family, in the end he realizes that forgiveness and acceptance matter most.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bogopea - LibraryThing

Very interesting memoir by the nephew of uncles who ran a day old bread store in NYC for decades. His mother (their sister) also worked in the store. Everyone lived in lower middle class apartments ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nanmb - LibraryThing

I loved this little book. It was a sweet story about a family that loved each other simply because (and despite of!) who they were. Growing up Mort Zachter's life was a struggle and he was under the ... Read full review

Contents

Remembrance
1
Awakening
3
Waiting for Cohn
8
Lindbergh Made It
17
The Store
26
The Store Revisited
35
A Night on the Town
41
Close to the Edge
51
Counselor Zachter
113
Charity
118
The Excavation
122
A Tale of Urban Renewal
128
Artifacts
132
Curtain Call
138
Fruitcake
143
Singing in the Rain
153

The FoodStamp Seders
61
Money Talks
67
The Millionaire
78
Sleeping on It
83
Keeping Florida Green
88
Generations
99
Learning to Fly Low
103
Ancestors
156
The Call
162
The Lamp
167
Coda
170
Acknowledgments
175
Authors Note
177
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Mort Zachter is currently working on a book about baseball legend Gil Hodges. His writing has appeared in Fourth Genre, Moment, Weatherwise, and Poetica. His memoiristic essay, "The Boy Who Didn't Like Money," was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Before he became a full-time writer, Zachter had careers in law and accounting. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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