Saturday, December 24, 2011

Inherit the Heart


Observations and Recommendations

We left family, friends, and places behind us that year.  With no job possibilities on our familiar turf we left town.  Sam's family was livid.  "Tell him you refuse to leave your parents," they commanded me.  "I'm married to him not to them," I told them.  "Tell him you won't go!" their desperation screamed.  "If he goes, I go, and we take the baby, too," I responded. 

Well, Sam and I and our new baby boy left the grasping tumult and landed in a town with a job.  Was it the best job he had ever worked? ... no.  Were his bosses the most honorable folks we had ever known? ... no.  It was a job that Sam elevated again and again by his pure heart, ever growing standards, and  unfailing hard work.  That one year nearly crushed him and by domino effect it bumped me too.  Thank G_d we survived, thank G_d, thank G_d. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Sad Man


With A Loyal Heart

The chasuneh is a personal day of atonement for the couple who stands under the chupah, the marriage canopy.  They fast like a Yom Kippur.  They wear white, like the shrouds that will cover their nakedness on the day of their burial.  And they get a new beginning ... together.  This is how Uncle Yosef and Polina, his Lina, began anew with lightening and fire. 

Bubbe Dana, of blessed memory, loved her Sonia and her baby Lina.  It was an emotion so concentrated and potent that even from the grave she was her Lina's shadchanes (matchmaker).  And what a good job she did.  She picked Yosef who loved the Sabbath and Lina.  In fact, Uncle Yosef was so loyal a soul that only an angel's view could reveal what a gift Bubbe Dana had bestowed upon her girls.  Uncle Yosef took care of his Lina and his mother-in-law.  And the women took good care of him. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Wonderful Man


Football at N.U.

Uncle Yosef was a wonderful man.  But something troubled me about him.  Perhaps it was his sadness.  I trusted him and I enjoyed his visits to our home.  So did my parents. 

He was a Northwestern University alum and he loved going to their football games.  Who knew that they lost every game that they played!  As a gift to Baylyah and me, he promised us a football game up in Evanston.  Baylyah's turn came first because she was the oldest of us.  How exciting it was when she came home with Uncle Yosef and told us how N.U. won!  Even Uncle Yosef was ecstatic.  So, when it came to be my turn to attend a football game for N.U. with Uncle Yosef I was quite disappointed that they lost.  Surely Uncle Yosef would have told them that they had to win the game for me.  I was still young enough to know that everything happening in my life was thanks to and because of me.  No one ever corrected me of this notion so it was true.  Right? 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Time of Blessings


Something Different

This very lovely lady was from Berlin.  She was the wife of one of Sam's patients.  As I was walking through the clinic to bring Sam some lunch I heard him say, "oh, meet my wife.  She speaks German."  It had been a long time since I last spoke to anyone in German.  Those loved ones were gone from this world.  Nonetheless I did find my mouth and some of my words.  This lovely lady began to speak to me.  And I responded.  Her name is Viktoria and she understood me.  Oh my goodness, my Grossvati would be so proud.  I can still speak. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet Dreams


Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

No one in my family ever sleeps at night.  They go on fantastic adventures.  They return to schools of unknown sorts.  They travel to other continents and even to other worlds.  They visit hell.  They talk to the dead and to the living.  They make so much noise at night in their dream world waves that I cannot sleep.  And so, I listen to their nocturnal scripts again and again and again. 

My son squeals with delight, "wheeeeee, whoooo-haaaah, wow!"
He laughs and giggles while he calls out for more space ships, again and again.  My daughter sings and dances with butterflies and fairies and a pig named Mercy.  My poor husband, sleep deprived for decades, barely chokes out the words, "help me!"  It is so desperate in tone and inflection I want to cry but I don't.  I tell myself it is only a dream. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

And she was always right...


She joins her great love...

Shira Leah:  Here you go.  (She hands me a pair of very old and very beautiful earrings.) 

Anna:  They are magnificent.  Here you go.  (As I hand them back to my godmother.) 

SL:  No, they are yours now.  I am taking care of business.  That is part one.  Part two is this.  (She hands me an empty bullet shell that had been transformed into a mezuzah that you would put on a chain and wear around your neck.  Much rougher and gruffer in appearance than the earrings though clearly more dear to the heart than the gold and gemstones.)  This was Joe's bar mitzvah present, after his first slug of shnapps and the piece of kichel.  His mother gave this to him.   It was the only thing left in his hands from her.  He died with this in his fist.  He is gone, oy, my Joe, my Joe.  I don't want it to be thrown away.  Keep it.  You'll have a son someday.  Your  son will understand what this means. 

A:  (Looking at the simple, modest mezuzah and imagining Joe's mother putting it around his thirteen year old neck.)  Thank you, thank you.  You know, Shira Leah,  you are not dead yet.  You don't have to do this. 

SL:  Maydel, maydel, maydchen... who knows what the next moment will bring?  I am just making sure that the right thing happens. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dream Keeper

Some Miracles Are Easier Than Others

How is it that Hadassah, Dassi for short, could live without eating.  Everyone wondered and marvelled and felt burdened by this miracle of life.  After Dassi passed away, her daughter, Penina, learned that their housekeeper had been visiting Dassi in the late evening hours.  That wonderful lady made the nursing home staff swear on the word of G-d, a big old leather bible in the chapel, not to reveal her late evening visits with Dassi to the family of Dassi.  Over the decades of working for Hadassah and Jakob, and then for Penina once she married and had a family of her own, they all had become dear friends.  More than an exceptional employee with exceptional employers, Carmela became a dear friend and confidante of Dassi.  And Dassi returned the loving friendship and confidence to her beloved companion Carmela. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Three Fates


A Real Job?

My first real jobs were dreadful or perhaps I was dreadful.  Don't really know or remember but I do recall that the library job made me nuts.  I had three supervisors:  the oldest was a retired military librarian; the middle-aged one was a spinster with the warmest heart who tried to help me with her smile; and the young University of Chicago Library School graduate who had no self esteem whatsoever, though we didn't talk about such things then, cried on my shoulder.  By the time I finished listening to all of their instructions and assignments I had nothing to do and no way to do it.  They stuck me in a little room in the bowels of the library.  I did sit at this magnificent old wooden desk well used, I could tell.  The new typewriter stared at me.  And I stared at it as I typed cards for the author, title, and subject card catalogue.  The cards apparently had to be perfect.  One mistake and I was instructed by the general to start all over on a fresh new card.  I was not allowed to correct a single mistake.  This puzzled me.  As a student I was using this card catalogue system.  The very oldest cards in the catalogue were handwritten in Old Librarian Hand, a very clean and clear script.  Some of those cards had corrections in the form of crossing out and continuing.  I suppose that in those olden days no one could afford to buy as many boxes of cards as surrounded me day-in and day-out.  What a task I had for the times when there was nothing else to do. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Bowling Ball


And the World Keeps Turning

Etti and Jerry have been married for sixty years.  ...

Jerry:  What's that? (He points to an egg shaped case, very sturdily made, with two strong handles.)

Etti:  Mary's bowling ball.

J:  Why is it in our car?

E:  They were tearing down the bowling alley, so we all went to pick up our balls.  No one could reach Mary.  We had to clear out our lockers.  So, we took her stuff, too.  The building is down already.  I figure that I'll catch up with Mary pretty soon.  But, I am worried.  Whenever I leave a message on her answering machine she always gets back to me.  Or ... if not Mary, then her aide will give me a call.  But we've heard nothing.    No one knows what's going on.  Who knows what her kids are doing with her? 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A New Book?


Chapter One:  A Mystery Unfolds?

The address book ...

Beatrice, the day you died I spent the entire afternoon and evening on the telephone.  Your address book gave me all the numbers I needed to call.  But, there was something odd about the entries.  Only one person was named, the blood relation, not the spouse.  Telli and Isidore, for example were married over sixty years.  Yet, Isidore was the only name that graced your entry for the family. 

Do you remember the day?  I was so hurt when you told me to my face that I was not family and never would be.  I believed your shunning me was unique and deeply personal.  But you shunned Telli also.  And she had more right to be called family than I ever did.  If you could dismiss Telli then I was in very good company.  Telli was a great and gracious lady endowed with exquisite modesty. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And We Lived in Huts


Wishing all the security and shelter of a good home filled with warm hearts as we learn the fragility of life by living in huts.  The wind will blow the roof off our sukkah and the rain will soak our table and chairs.  But we, thank G_d are still okay... still preparing for a very good and blessed note in this amazing Book of Life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Now What?


A New Work Begins...

It is a very difficult task for us who have only known toughness in its abusive form to see it in its uplifting and elevating realm. By the same token, how do we visualize kindness as an evil killer when we have only been nurtured and tenderly embraced by those who embody its spirit.  Is it possible for toughness to save lives and for kindness to destroy them?  These are some of the dilemmas we encounter when our personal ways fail us...

What gives us a reason to learn other ways?  

Bashi Kohanchi loved her parents.  They were a most unusual couple.  Her father's family was Persian and had moved to Manchester, England.  Her mother, Leah, was Eastern European, from a shtetl where they said "chawsday" and not "chasdoh", as in "key l'olam chasdoh"*.  Don't know where that town was located nor what its name was; it is all ashes now.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday!


In this moment...a boy began to become a man.





Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Three R's


Recognition, Reunion, Relief

The front door creaked upon opening.  I am thinking about WD-40... where is it?  "Hi, thank you both for coming.  Please forgive the mess.  We just moved in.  Follow me through the boxes. The dining table is probably the best place to visit.  

I remember this day like it was yesterday.  The boxes sat everywhere in the apartment.  The oasis was at the dining table.  A pot of freshly brewed tea, empty cups ready and waiting and a bowl of fresh fruit, the grape clusters half eaten by my son.  I shall remember these people forever.  Mary Jo and Christie were the first people the kids and I met on our own (i.e. not through my husband) in our new home town.  We would learn this community through the eyes of special needs thanks to our new baby daughter with Down Syndrome.  Mary Jo and Christie came to us through the parent mentor program.  Christie was the first young adult with Down Syndrome who I had the opportunity to meet.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bows of Dough



Bubbe Pheema was still in her sixties cooking and baking storms of magnificent meals as well as sewing up outfits to fulfill our wildest dreams and fantasies.  

"So, you want to look like somebody else? Pass me the carrots please."  The sound of the grater gives a shimmer to the moment.  "Don't forget the raisins; we want a sweet year, the sweetness of good health, please G_d.  I need that dish."  Grated carrots, handful of raisins, and something else, who knows what, goes into the dish.  "Sure, I'll sew for you.  Move, I need the chopping block."  Onions and potatoes minced and mixed and poured into the sizzling skillet.  "Bring me a picture."  Hard cooked eggs appear from the deep sink.  "Start peeling, then chop them.  Whoever heard of Purim everyday?" The big spoon scrapes and stirs the onions and potatoes.  Everything is beginning to look golden.  "What colors do you want, mein bubbeleh*?  The magazine is black and white.  One thing, it's important.  I pick the fabric.  That's all I ask.  Okay?  Come Thursday morning, early, when you bring me my Shabbos chickens.  Oy, America, chickens without feathers, what a mechayeh!  I give you two dresses, one from your picture and one for Shabbos and yontif.  I give you teyglech for your mameh.  It should be ready by then.  I give you blessings for a good inscription!  What a book, this Book of Life!  The good L-rd, oy, He should give us copies.  Maybe we'd be more prepared."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

And we cried...


The Mourners' Kaddish

"Yisgadal..."  May His great Name grow exalted and sanctified (AMEN) in the world that He created as He willed.  May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel and Mankind, swiftly and soon.  Now respond:  AMEN.  

Everyone:  AMEN.  May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.

May His great Name be blessed forever and ever.  

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed is He.  (BLESSED IS HE) beyond any blessing and song, praise and consolation that are uttered in the world.  Now respond:  AMEN.  AMEN.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt

 B''H, Inspiration 23 April 1910

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Look


Have We Forgotten Our Purpose?

"She'll never walk until she bears weight and she won't bear weight until she walks.  So, I have a present for Rachel", said the physical therapist.  Out comes the smallest, most glittered walker I ever saw.  Rachel's eyes opened wide as her lips formed the astonished "oh" and her hands reached out to the sparkly thing.  The work begins.

Big open spaces gave way to miracles.  With her pink, glitzy walker that stood knee high to me, not only could my Rachel walk, she could gallop, and run with glee.  She loved going to synagogue on Shabbos*.  Following the rabbi up and down the main aisle during the Torah service added to everyone's pleasure.  Rabbi shook every man's hand. Rachel shook almost everyone's hand.  In fact, Rachel skipped the same old guy every time.  It did not matter where he sat, she avoided that fellow.  Congregants noticed.  The rabbi noticed.  I was too busy keeping vigil with her to notice that she was always short one Shabbos hand-shake.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Conception


Elders Set the Example

Deveira:  You let her get pregnant!

Bubbe Bracha:  No.

D:  You were supposed to be watching her.

BB:  I did.

D:  We go away for one short weekend and look what happens.  You didn't watch her!

BB:  Yes, I did.  Two young, healthy folks and then some things are not meant to be seen, only experienced.  This is what young people do.  I am not so old that I cannot remember.  

D:  We have a big problem.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

First Yahrzeit - The Candle


Your Son, My husband...
What the hell is going on between you two?

Beatrice, it's a year since you died.  (Oy, I am going nuts.  I'm talking to a candle.)  It is sundown, everyone is home but no one is with me.  It is time to light the first yahrzeit candle for you.  Your son, my husband, should be doing this.  You were his mother, not mine.  You made that clear to me on so many occasions.  So, you might ask, why am I lighting this candle?  ... because I take care of these things.  Did you even notice who was taking care of this candle to elevate your soul?  Me.  I lit this candle for your sake.  Your son is not holding this burnt out match, I am.  

Please excuse me now.  I am preparing our Shabbos* menu.  

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Stuff of Living

The Twists and Turns of Life, 
So many surprises,
So many lessons,
So much mystery.

My dolls and stuffed animals disappeared one day.  There were no announcements.  It just happened.  No explanations.  It just happened.  Even my bride doll that sat on the silk cushion on my bedspread vanished.  I asked no questions.  I made no comments.  I was young.  Perhaps I was in third grade.  What was I to do?  No one to play with now, my imagination travelled inward.  Oh, suddenly, there was a piano.  Were music lessons my consolation prize?  Who knows?  But, I became a student with the same passion that I experienced when I played with my toys.  Perhaps I studied with even more intensity.  

Years later, I found my dolls and animals in a box in the basement.  I sat there surrounded by all my old friends and cried, "I never let you go.  You were taken from me."  Then I heard someone coming down the stairs.  I quickly packed everyone up and put the box back into storage.  Thank G-d, I now knew where they lived.  

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Far Fom Home


NO PITY, Always Move Forward

Euphemia  and Sara were best friends.  For eight long years they apprenticed themselves to a fine dressmaker in London.  Now they boarded at the same ladies' rooming house in Sydney, Australia.  All of the Jewish seamstresses boarded with Raizel Blumberg.  Their work was hard but the times were exciting.  Raizel took good care of these young women so far from home and the watchful eyes of loving parents.  She even tried to be a matchmaker when her boarding house gave her a few moments.  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Two Teachers, Same Students, And Bottles of Norvasc & Lisinopril


"I Kill Them With Kindness"

Deveira:  I can't get these kids to do their work.  Not in the classroom and nothing at home.  They won't listen to me. I've been taking blood pressure pills for years.  The kids, they are killing me.  How do you do it?

Hinda:  Well, Deveira, when I was their age I was a prisoner... treated worse than cattle, worse than farm animals.  Nazi guards, may their souls be erased from the universe, had some very effective means to make us obey them.  Those techniques are not allowed here at our school.  In any case, I did not survive the impossible to emulate my captors.  I remembered a better way from before the madness.

Deveira:  Hinda, they do anything and everything for you, not so for me.  Why?  How?  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Good Man

A Match made...

B"H, Uncle Yosef was a good man.  Uncle Yosef was the son of Bubbe Raisel's best friend.  She did not have many friends in the family nor out of the family, but, Uncle Yosef's mother, Irena, was very sisterly to her.  And I would imagine that in Bubbe Raisel's loneliness and loss that she was sisterly in return.  When Uncle Yosef was a young man he fell in love with the only child of a  survivor.  Sonia survived some dreadful pogroms, massacres.  Her only child came to her from a brutal rape.  So brutal that Sonia had been left for dead.  A peasant woman found her still breathing and nursed her back to life and health.  Polina was born nine months later.  The peasant lady, Bogdana, may G-d elevate her soul again and again, loved Sonia and baby Lina.  They made a wonderful family.  But, the world they knew continued to convulse.  Bogdana -- the healer, caregiver, home-maker, savior -- decided that she, Sonia, and Lina should leave all they knew and should walk, no run, far away from the madness.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I met my son twenty years before he was born


Bubbe Raisel Goes Shopping:
On a mission

 The conversation...

Bubbe Raisel - You have to get married for the sake of your son.  ...  Here hold this.  (She passes a blue shirt-dress to her granddaughter.)

Anna - Wait, Bubbe, what son?  (hanging the dress back on the rack)

B.R. - Your son.  Here hold this.  (a beautiful paisley silk scarf that would have matched that dress)

A. - (putting the scarf down)  My son!  What son!  There has to be a guy!

B.R. - That's what I'm talking about.  Here hold this.  (a beautiful blue lace camisole that would have matched the dress AND the scarf)

A. - (placing the camisole back on the display counter)  Oy, Bubbe, I'm busy.  I'm studying, I'm teaching. 

B.R. -  Why do you think we are shopping today?  You need to get married for the sake of your son!  (They are walking around as the older lady re-gathers the dress, the scarf, and the camisole.)  Here, don't put these down again.  Hold them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank you to my readers in Germany. Etwas auf Deutsch


Der groesste Konzertsaal und das Zimmer der Katze 

Charakteristisch fuer eine alte Zeit war das Zimmer, wo ich zehn Jahre lang Klavierspielen lernte.  Einmal in der Woche ging ich zu der Wohnung meiner Musiklehrerin (sie war nicht nur die beste Klavierlehrerin, sondern auch die beste Lehrerin fuer Musikgeschichte und -Theorie).  Ihr Reiz, und der Reiz des Zimmers, bezauberten mich immer.  Es gab zwei Klaviere, die aus Wien (City-of-Music) kamen, woher meine Lehrerin auch kam, und die Klaviere(Boesendorfer) fuegten sich wie ein Zusammensetzspiel aneinander.  Alles andere in diesem Zimmer hatte auch mit Musik zu tun, und kam auch aus Wien.  

Vergilbte Seiten der schoenen Musik, die ich liebte, eingerahmt an den Waenden, und auf den Stellagen gab es Miniaturportraets der beruehmten Komponisten.  Naechst den Miniaturportraets standen kleine Glasfiguren -- musizierende Kinder.  Ich brauchte den Raum nur anzusehen, so konnte ich in der Stille Musik fuehlen.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In Memory of L.K.G., a tender soul gone from this world too soon... too soon


Baruch Dayan HaEmet* 

Bubbe Cilpa, a koch-lechel* in her prime, was in hospice, asleep for two weeks, no food, no water, I don't know what else.  Tante* Rena, her middle child was there every day.  After two weeks with nothing happening Tante and the nurse were wondering if they should change their plan of action.  What's going on?  Was Cilpa comfortable?  Was she bored?  At ninety-seven years old was she staying in this world because she considered her daughters incompetents?  

In Memory of L.K.G.: Therefore Choose Life!


Relive the Creation of the World*


Dina:  Moshe, wake up my love.  The telephone...

Reb Moshe Abramovitsch*:  Dina, thank you.  I am waking up.  Please remember, it is not the telephone, it is a person in distress.

D to RMA:  Yes, yes, yes.

D to Anna (person on the phone):  Hello, my dear.  The rabbi will be here in a moment.  

A:  Oh, I shouldn't be calling.  She's not dead ...

D:  Where are you?

A:  Weiss Memorial Hospital, the I.C.U.

D:  It's good that you called.  Here, the rabbi is ready for you.  

A to D:  Thank you. 

RMA:  Rabbi Moshe Abramovitsch speaking.  How may I help you?

A:  I'm sorry, sorry.  I shouldn't... She's not dead... I can't...  I made a mistake.  I'm so sorry that I woke you and your wife.  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saturday evening, the corset, and a "bissel* schnaps"


The Corset

My Bubbe* Pheema would stay with us every Saturday night.  Mom and Dad would go out.  Sometimes Cousin Dalyah would join my sister Rina and me.  I remember a moment in the evening while we were getting ready for bed.  I was already in my nightgown.  Bubbe Pheema was changing for the evening, too.  She had taken off her dress.  We were standing near the closet because she was placing the garment carefully on a sculpted wooden hanger.  In the next few seconds she would have the whole thing, hanger and dress, nicely situated in the closet for the night.  Then the most amazing transformation occurred.  Bubbe Pheema began to undo her corset (see Short history of Corsets).  It was a magnificent garment made by her very hands.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Miracles in Chaos: Moments in Revolution


Bubbe Bracha was a Communist.  Well, she wasn't always a Communist.  First she was a very pious daughter of the hasid*, Reb Herschel.  Then, she was a Communist.  Do you know what she did?  After she was no longer the daughter of Reb Herschel, she kissed the rabbi's son.  But first, the boy cut off his peyos* and took off his tallis-katan*.  Wow, what a kiss!  So, Dovid and Bracha were a couple.  Their fathers said kaddish* for them at schul* and sat shiva* for them at home.  It was a small town after all and this is what was expected.  But, in the privacy of their study time together, these two old friends drank a "l'chaim"* to G-d who managed to make such a couple even in these crazy times.  

I knew Bubbe Bracha in America.....

Monday, June 20, 2011



-She said WHAT?!?
* You are too old, too religious, too ugly.
-She has never seen me.
*You are a gold digger and not worthy of me.
*What’s wrong with you? 
-It’s a cliché times three:  1) my son the doctor; 2) my son, my baby, the mezhinik (Definition of mezhinik); and 3) my son, MY SON.  Did you expect anything else?
          I’m upset.
-I can tell.
* That’s it.  She finally gets what she says she has always wanted and it is still not good enough.
*We’re getting married with or without her.
-I love you.  By the way, how did you come to this conversation?
*Okay, I called her to tell her I’ve just gotten engaged to a nice Jewish girl.  And she asks me how long we’ve been dating.
-And you said?
*Two months.
-Anything else?   …like we’ve been acquaintances for over ten years.
*No, she only asked about dating.

          So, Grandma that is how we met.  Before we ever laid eyes on each other; before we ever spoke you decided that I was wrong.  Wrong for being too old… wrong for being too religious… wrong for being too ugly… and dangerous for being a gold digger. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD, a thank you note to a wonderful young woman


There are these remarkable people who arrive in our lives for a moment of need and leave us changed for a lifetime.  How can we thank them? 

When Rachel was born, no one left the room.  It was quiet.  The nurses whisked her away to a side area, cleaning her up and checking her out.  They were horrified and unable to mask those emotions.  Eventually, with a dressed and swaddled baby in her arms and with the care you’d give to a bag of beans, the nurse went to the waiting room and called for the family of Joanne.  Nancy, my friend, stood up.  The nurse shoved the baby into her arms with an awful-sounding “here”.  Nancy looked at my beautiful newborn girl in her arms and walked over to my father.  She gently placed the baby in his arms.  For the next hour he traced every tiny feature on her face and counted fingers and toes. 

A happy maternity ward is a joyous and fun place to be.  Flowers and balloons and smiling faces are always moving in and out of the rooms and up and down the hallways.  An unhappy maternity ward is another world.  Wailing permeates the air.  Grim faces stalk the hallways when there are faces.  There is a stunned and screaming silence.  This is where the doctors put me and my new little girl with Down Syndrome.  We were alone for most of the time.  Besides my husband, my son, and my parents, only my nurse midwife dealt with us in a friendly way.  Everyone else acted gruff, as if they were thinking, “this is a big deal university hospital … how could this happen?”  Very few respected the new life in my arms. 

Dedication: All this I dedicate to the miracle of life which G-d Almighty, the Creator, renews and refreshes every moment, every breath.


After a family gathering my beloved aunt decided she was sick and tired of the "kids" moaning and groaning.  Who are the "kids"?... the young adults with jobs and kids of their own.  This is what she said.

"Listen, our generation knows how to make chicken soup without the chicken.  We learned it from our parents and we also learned how to be happy with it."