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August 21, 2013

Song of life

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Nisoff sang regularly at the Wintergarden.

“I can’t say I ever won anything. I can’t remember. At one point, I was ready to go on stage, and my leg went through a broken board. But anyhow, I went on and I sang, and everybody remarked afterward they thought I was stage fright,” Nisoff said.

CARING FOR SIBLINGS

Her siblings were Thelma; Betty; Marlene, also a singer; and Douglas. Faye, 82, lives in Australia. Nisoff attended Catholic schools but did not attend high school.

“We went north of Townsville because the doctor said my mother should be on the ocean because she had rheumatoid arthritis. They didn’t know what to do with her at that time. So, we went up north about 1,100 miles to the tropics, there on the Pacific Ocean, about a mile from it,” she said.

Nisoff became the caretaker of her younger siblings.

“My mother was an invalid. She couldn’t walk after the age of 40 because of the rheumatoid arthritis. She was very crippled. I came home to take care of everybody. I got my dad off to work, and I got all the kids off to school … curl their hair and braid it, and all the rest of it,” she said.

WASH DAY

In Australia, wash day was a process.

“We had a copper boiler outside in a brick stove, put the fire under it and boil the clothes,” Nisoff said. “After they boil with soap and stuff in it, we take them out on a draining board with like a broomstick and let them drain. Then, we take them into the wash shed where we had two full of clean water and one with bluing. We rinse the two clean and then put them in the bluing and put them on the line. The bluing makes them whiter. We always did it, never thought about it.”

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