Mrs. Kavanoff

Widowed landlady who rented to the Edelsteins

Our surprise encounter with Jacob Herzog had already taken care of one big obstacle to self-sufficiency. The other problem was housing, which was in short supply during these postwar years in New York, before the big suburban building boom that followed....

The next day, [on my friend Herbie's referral], Tateh and I rang the bell at the entrance of a six-story apartment building on 52nd Street between 18th and 19th Avenues in Bensonhurst. A Jewish woman, Mrs. Kavanoff, came down and gestured for us to come in and look around.

The place was modest but clean. She was a widow and no longer had children at home. She needed help making her rent and offered to share her apartment with us for $20 a week. Tateh already had good wages coming in, so we shook on it. We were back there with our possessions the following day to move in.