Growing up in eastern Washington, frighteningly faraway from any “good” delis, I always looked forward to visits from my Grandpop (and his carry-on insulated lunchbox full of delicious salty belly lox). Every time I visited my Grandpop in his row house in Bensalem on the outskirts of Philadelphia, he would trick me into trying what he described as the sweetest and most delicious dessert, halvah, an experience I liken to taking a bite out of a stick of chalk. Since my visits with my Grandpop were few and far between, he successfully pulled this practical joke two to three times before I got wise to him. Conversations I had with my Grandpop and other members of my Mom’s family while eating Jewish food like belly lox and poppy seed bagels, matzah ball soup, kasha with onions, pot roast, and bowtie noodles, and (only under coercion) halvah, were a window into my Jewish heritage.
Throughout the summer I worked on many collections – the one I found to be the most interesting was the Leonard Blood Papers (collection number: MS-00161). This collection documents the life of Leonard Blood, who was responsible for hiring people for the Boulder (Hoover) Dam project between 1931 and 1938. The collection contains a scrapbook of articles featuring Blood, documents from the Boulder Dam project, his Navy and Naval Reserve paperwork, and his employment history.