Spring was always a welcomed guest. The winter was wet, muddy and the nights were bitterly cold. The streets in Baghdad’s old quarter (Taht el Takia) where I was born in December of 1930 were narrow, twisted and unpaved. Donkeys were the only mode of transportation. Sanitary conditions were poor or none existing. There was no city sewer system and central heating was unknown. Drinking water and electricity were intermittently cut off. When the weather warmed up in March and April and the orange blossom filled the air, I knew Passover was coming.
Of all the holidays, Passover was the one I waited for impatiently. I usually got a new pair of shoes, new trousers, white shirt, socks and underwear. I was happy as a lark and looked like a clown. The trousers were too long, the shirt was too big and my feet were swimming in my shoes. To prepare for Passover my mother baked Matzah at home. The helpers scrubbed, cleaned and washed drapes, sheets and everything else. All pots and pans had to be dipped in boiling water. On the first night of Passover, the table was set lavishly on an elegant table cloth with special posh dishes and fancy cutlery, and individual wine cups. I dressed up in my new clothes.