Family Feed

Father Comes Home

World War II left millions of children wounded, homeless, hungry, impoverished and often orphaned in defeated and victorious countries alike, as the V-mail below attests.  In the United States, the kids were, for the most part, all right, although the stress and dislocation of the war years left some homeless, as a youthful Maya Angelou discovers in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  But impoverished or not, universally, across the globe, children waited for their fathers to come home.

My sister Gretel was born within a fortnight of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and for most of her first four years my father was a soldier. 

G&D Gretel and Dad.1

He was discharged from the Army in the fall of 1945 after five months in London, spent interrogating German POWs. He reunited with his tiny family at my grandmother’s house in Buffalo since the Army did not house dependents once soldiers were deployed overseas (which may explain why some kids ended up homeless).  Removing his officer’s hat, he threw it on the floor, emphatically declaring, “I’m done with the Army!” at which point my sister burst into tears!  In her mind his Army uniform was as much a part of him as his mustache.

V-Mail '45.1
V-Mail from London, June, 1945, from my father to my sister, describing a little girl in ragged clothing, hoping for some chewing gum from American soldiers

Kids on VE Day.3

Children’s parade on V.E. Day (May 8, 1945) in San Antonio, TX.  Gretel is pushing a baby carriage; the boy behind her rides a tricycle, and the child behind him carries a watering can; the boy in front carries the flag.












The Best of Sandy and Rocky

  • 035 King of the Universe
    Sandy was a year old when he came to us in 2013 as a scrawny stray with one misshapen eyelid. A few months of hearty eating transformed him into a sandy-haired beauty, extraordinarily gentle and extremely fond of cuddling and schmoozing. About that time we adopted three-month-old Rocky, mischief-maker and comedian-in-chief. Where Sandy never saw a lap he didn’t like, Rocky never passed up a box or a bag if he could possibly get in it. When, in 2015, our permanent move to Mill Brook House enabled the cats to go outside, Sandy proved himself a fearsome hunter while Rocky fell in love with wild turkeys and domestic chickens. Sadly, at the end of his first outdoor summer, Sandy disappeared. Days of calling, searching and alerting neighbors turned up nothing. Devastated at first, Rocky eventually recovered his moxie, and he continues to romance the chickens across the street, play pirates in the claw foot tub, and fall asleep on the hand-hewn beams in the attic. This album commemorates our “cat years.”

Charlemont at 250

  • 027 Balloon Rides
    This year marks Charlemont's 250th Anniversary (incorporated 1765). See photographs here and read more at: For permission to reproduce any of these photographs, please contact Steven Sternbach: [email protected].

Shelburne Falls' Bridge of Flowers

  • C014
    The Shelburne Falls trolley bridge, connecting the villages of Buckland and Shelburne, was built in 1908 to carry freight and passengers on a 7.5 mile line to Colrain. With the advent of the automobile, however, trucks began hauling freight, and in 1927 the company that built the bridge went bankrupt. Turning the abandoned bridge into a flower garden was the brainchild of Antoinette and Walter Burnham, who, with the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club, raised $1000 for loam, fertilizer and plants, and made this unique, historic landmark a reality in 1929. Then, as now, all the labor to start the garden and keep it going was donated. This album is a month by month chronicle of the ever-changing spectacle the bridge presents to tourists and residents every year from April to September.

Western Mass.


  • MassMoCA, Exterior
    The photographs in this album record exhibits at MassMoCA in North Adams, MA, on January 1, 2011. All of these photographs are copyrighted by Steven Sternbach; for permission to reproduce them, contact the photographer at [email protected].
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