The Color of Water

what does James learn about mommy family when he travels to Suffolk

Chapter 20

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In Suffolk, he met a 66-year-old black man named Eddie Thompson who still remembered the Shilskys. James's mother's name, Eddie told James, was called "Rachel" back then. This was the first time that James had ever heard his mother's former name. Eddie told him that he remembered Ruth's mother, who was crippled: a nice lady who always slipped them fruit and candy when her husband wasn't looking. As for the Rabbi, he had run off with an enormous woman with whom he was having an affair; this was particularly humorous because Shilsky was such a diminutive man. Rachel, Eddie recalled, just disappeared one day. Eddie decided that he wanted to talk to her and called her long-distance. When she heard his voice and the memories it brought back, Ruth began crying.