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.