One year ago…
Passaic lost a 1968 classmate this week. RIP- Harry Quagliana. Our forever Susan Bromberg shared this nightmare with me over one of our early morning Words with Friends Games. NEVER the “words” we want to hear. Susan and Harry were everyday dear buds. Their 7:30 in the morning calls and playing along with Jeopardy over the phone at night were pieces of their fabric. My dear Sue needless to say this year has taken your most special people. 😥
Reposting a better time adventure from several years ago. Hold tight dear friend we are reaching down with two hands this time.
Sunday night we had Game of Thrones on in one room as I taped Billions in another. I watched Diana Ross croon “Oh my man I love him so” up close and very personal to Berry Gordy live in my bedroom.
Cut to opening week for Buco a delicious restaurant that moved to a new spot in Bloomfield, a stones throw from the land of our brave and the home of our free-Passaic, New Jersey. So in one of our several times a year catch up and exhume wonderful memories way, The Julia’s (Just us Ladies Into Aging) and Ricky Rosenthal talking bout “our guy” met for dinner. We missed Gail as we “heard it through the grapevine,”she had just returned from kvelling in Israel where they were having a “heatwave”, while her first grandson became a Bar Mitzvah. Mazel Tov. Ok, so now that I’m done reading the Minutes let’s move onto the joy of the evening before we break for coffee and macaroons.
The evening, in typical fashion, began with an astigmatized visual, could it be we were just “standing in the shadows of love” or perhaps “ just our imagination” as we marveled at how much we look like we did way back when. I asked for matzoh cause sugar pie, honey bunch “I can’t help myself” and “ain’t too proud to beg,” especially during the 8 days of Passover.
We ordered dinner and graciously talked over one another creating a cacophony of sounds that sounded like the “same old song.” We were thrilled to be “back in our arms again.” We walked away feeling as if we had just “heard a symphony” and knowing all too well that the next time one of us reaches out “we’ll be there.” Blessed and then some.
Gardening situates you in a different kind of time, the antithesis of the agitating present of social media. Time becomes circular, not chronological; minutes stretch into hours; some actions don’t bear fruit for decades. The gardener is not immune to attrition and loss, but is daily confronted by the ongoing good news of fecundity. A peony returns, alien pink shoots thrusting from bare soil. The fennel self-seeds; there is an abundance of cosmos out of nowhere.
Mattea you got-a way bout you-
At 23 So very Jeopardy Wise.
Your look so quizzical and you ask the right questions and then there’s the squint you do with your eyes.
As Barbra With an A is 80, a Funny Girl, who met The Fockers on a Clear Day and at that point we knew A Star was Born. “Hubbell your girl is lovely.”
Non-sequitors, like parallelograms need not be understood as long as Jeopardy continues to get double digit day winners, Kris Kristofferson doesn’t forget to send flowers anymore and love still wears a smile- we’re in. Make it a fun Sunday!
“I See Friends Shaking Hands- saying how do you do.”
When the leaves were orange and the living was easy. What does the tooth fairy do with all the teeth? Why are the people in the front of the picture so much bigger than the people toward the back? Out of the mouths, when life was oh so mellow.
We bought our first pair of silk stockings which were to be held up by a stretchy pink and white striped garter belt. The days of Ozzie and Harriet, Susan Lucci and Soupy Sales.
We re-dialed after our friends line was busy the first time and screeched with excitement, Conrad Birdie style, over our anticipated coed- girl/boy party that evening. After we sat under a hot dryer with beer can sized rollers in our hair we brushed away the fumes from our eyes left by aqua spray. The decision to curl our hair rather than iron it straight was a good one, our hair came out just right. Getting ready “Was” the excitement. Our new madras blouse and alpaca sweater hung prominently in the front of our closet right above our shiny, new cordovan colored weejuns. Bright, new Penny, dated 1969 heads up in place.
A touch of revlon blush, a glimmer of light pink lipstick proceeded a spritz of Ambush and we were on our way. With dejavu on my breath I can still recall euphorically how it felt when I unbuttoned the wooden clasps that kept my new Pea Coat in tact. The boys gathered on one side of the room as the girls sifted through the 45’s on the other. At this point there was no bottle to spin in sight. Would the Angels sing tonight as our soldier boys danced under the Blue Moon?
The specialty years of pre-teening had a wonderful life of its own. We made room for our daydreams laced with Johnny Mathis lyrics. Our Barbie and Ken’s were repositioned and left to fetch for themselves in the back row of our minds. In the “still of the night” I hold tightly to the memories that Jay and the Americans knew were those Magic Moments.
Carl Spielvogel, marketing wunderkind died one year ago this week after living 92 creative and grand years. His words. He was vice chairman of one of the worlds largest advertising conglomerates. He and a colleague and friend Bill Backer eventually opened Backer and Spielvogel. They both possessed boutique attitudes about personal service and ran a miniature super-agency. One of Bill Backers large accounts was Coca Cola. He co-wrote the hymn “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony),” which he turned into “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke and Keep it Company.” A favorite slogan hanging in their offices was, “The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes.”
My opportune take off to the tune of “ I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing…”
We got to build our world a home and furnish it with love.
We hold the kids so close to heart and cherish them through the years.
We get to watch them grow and grow,
While standing by their side.
They play and eat the snacks they choose with hugs from deep inside.
Grew flowers, veggies, a fruit or two while planting all the seeds.
Club Gomberg got a view of “Grands,”
Who made sure there were no weeds.
We build magna tiles to the sky.
Draw pictures of our dreams.
Grabbed the time we had to watch a movie on tv.
We got to hear the world we built,
As they echoed through our halls.
We built memories while having fun,
Created through the years.
We’d like to teach the world to sing,
The lyrics to our song.
Our pictures encased in frames of life so powerful and strong.
So Mr. Spielvogel thank you for the tune to our song. We are moving faster these days in grabbing moments to share when the opportunities knock. Make it a great Friday.
Some people gnaw away at you with a subtle approach.
While others clobber you over the head
and if you allow it, drill a hole through your skull. After we have been washed to shore with an increment of safety our lesson is to listen to how people treat us and watch their words. It is one in the same however it is phrased. Your actions thundered so loudly I hardly heard your words. Walking on eggshells and holding your breath is a full time job. Just for today brush the naysayers dust off, side swap your fears and find the golden leaf to turn over. Curate your opportunity for a happy day
now that the world is less threatening. Let’s do it Tuesday. I’m not pensive you are!
Papa Can You Hear Me? Repost with a “single secret tear.”We would run into their home always overflowing with the smells of Shabbos on the stove, cookies in the oven and ripped toilet paper in a box, next to the toilet bowl. Symbolic of a Jewish Home on the week-ends. Zada sat on his over-stuffed chair surrounded by prayer books. We would fall into his smile, his warmth. He particularly cuddled my sister Roberta. She was the youngest and so curly haired adorable. We watched him read, we observed him in prayer. Our backs were covered as G-d had to be listening, he did it so well. Rabbi Irving Gottlieb presided over a congregation in a shul in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn. In the 50’s, early 60’s it was a predominantly Jewish and Italian “good” neighborhood. He also owned a rabbinical artifacts shop on Rivington Street on The Lower Eastside. We would visit him on Sundays and once again was greeted with a big smile. He couldn’t wait to hand us a hard candy from a dish he had on the counter. What fun we had. In our early days growing up we were traditionally observant. My mother kept a kosher home. Her father was a kosher butcher. We were frum, Devout and pious Jewish people. On Passover mom koshered the kitchen from head to toe. She changed the dishes and utensils. She lined the refrigerator and cabinet shelves with oak tag. The food strictly kosher for Passover. Matzoh Brei our favorite, our biggest request. All we knew is that the dishes were not as pretty as our every other day dishes. Green glass was just not our taste. Our memories are of very long Seders where we were so hungry that eggs dipped in salt water tasted so good. I cherish those days. Then it all changed. Our taste of orthodoxy, our world as we knew it was over. We moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey and our affiliation to strong observation paled. My father was the only son of an orthodox Rabbi. He had 5 sisters.We moved from our solid roots when he radically decided to join a reformed temple. Our lives would change forever in how we observed Judaism. Somehow we followed his lead, as we respected our father. We all stayed strong to tradition. Holidays and their loveliness have resonated throughout our lives. We came together for dinners, we worshipped and practiced our faith in a different format.What is the “chosen” people in G-d’s eyes? We sang and we prayed to him in our own hearts, albeit in a different format but not in a different way. As fate unfolded I am blessed to have 8 grandchildren through marriage. They are orthodox and very observant. I have moved much closer to my very observant roots now. We live life sequentially. Fate brings us to situations at different times in our lives. There are no coincidences. I strongly believe in G-d and a divine order. I feel my faith so intensely thru the blessings of grandchildren who run into my house threaded with familiar smells and traditions. They fall into our smiles, our warmth – as I did on Rabbi Gottlieb’s lap in 1958. Zada, I smile big as I hand them candy sitting prominently on my counter. I wish this on everyone. Hashtag Blessed.
The first night of Pesach on the ere of the full moon.
(Each month’s full moon has a popular nickname, and the pink moon is on April 16, 2022. NASA says the moon will reach its peak fullness at 2:55 p.m. EDT Saturday afternoon — before the sky gets dark enough for us to see.)
We added some lip gloss, a new pair of shoes and we focused on how the matzoh balls would taste on the ride over. We sat with our family and the evening played out beautifully. The blue hagadah’s familiarity brought back memories of our childhood sedars and the feeling of peace took over. We prayed over the shabbos candles and the evening unfolded.
The service explaining the holiday of the liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over” of the forces of destruction began. The eve of the Exodus on the ere of a full moon helped us feel liberated from our stress plus.
The kids wore the four question puppets on their fingers and danced and played with children from the families of strangers/like family at the next table. A veritable mouthful, the synopsis of the evening- not on the cutting floor. Our nieces smile, Roberta being the grandma, schepping nachas from the kinda-and another glass of wine or two, I’m not counting, are you? Yup, this year no masks, not in Jerusalem, but exactly the right place at the right time- alas, serendipity. Panaceas come wrapped in all different packages. Sometimes in the grab bag of life you pick the box with the Burberry sandals and call it a win/win. We wish this on everbody. BH!