Chapters 1 and 2, Dead, The Bicycle
• The eighth of twelve children, James McBride grows up in a chaotic, but loving, home.
• His mother is a Polish Jew, raised mostly in Virginia. She married a black man and lived the majority of her adult life in New York City.
• Ruth Shilsky McBride Jordan is being interviewed by her son James. She doesn't understand why he wants to know about her family, seeing as how her family has considered her dead for fifty years.
• Born an Orthodox Jew in 1921 in Poland, Ruth's Jewish name was Ruchel Dwajra Zylska.
• Ruth introduces her parents. Her father, Fishel Shilsky, was an Orthodox rabbi who she describes as a fox and hard as a rock. Her mother, Hudis, was gentle and kind.
• James describes his stepfather, Hunter Jordan, who unexpectedly died of a stroke at seventy-two. When Hunter Jordan died, the family struggled to move...
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