Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Big Old Green House


A Shelter For Us All

It was green. It was old because there was still a carriage in the carriage house and two stalls for horses.  And it was a shelter for us because my uncle loved us all so much.  

We felt that the house had secrets.  Special hidden staircases that allowed you to appear out of no where.  A jail in the basement and tunnels that led you out of the house to cellar doors three houses down by the big old oak tree.  The sub-basement had thousands of dusty, dirty old bottles filled with something.  Who knows what was in them?  And again, more tunnels in another direction.  Those tunnels met up with brick walls.  Here and there we saw playing cards on the ground with our flashlights.  Who would be nuts enough to play cards down here?  Exploring inside was much better than hide and seek outside.  But, Uncle's neighborhood was changing.  All the big old houses were being torn down and replaced with apartment buildings.  Where once only one family lived or by our time, one old, old woman lived, now twenty families lived.  All tunnels lead to brick walls.  And the carriage was gone replaced by a car.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Papa Was No Tzaddik...


But, Perhaps His Teacher Was.

"Listen," said my Bubbe, "Papa was no tzaddik, he was just a lonely man.  I was his wife.  I took care of him.  I fed him, I did his laundry, I gave him sons, I kept house, I made Shabbos and holidays.  I took care of his brothers one by one as they came out of Russian hell.  But, a woman gets tired as she gets older.  It's nice to sleep at night.  And that is why I say Papa was no tzaddik."  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fragments of Confession


Another Year

Dear Beatrice, 

We just received notice of your approaching yahrzeit.  As in past years I will most likely be the one to buy the candle, set it up, and light it.  Your son, my husband, might be there because I will have called him to participate in this gesture but then again he might still be working when the time comes to light this candle... so, who knows?  Perhaps you do.  

I must admit diminishing anger.  You no longer occupy my every waking moment.  Your boxes of stuff never got dealt with to a natural conclusion.  I kept seeing things that had no connection to the version of you that you bestowed upon me.  I saw a wonderful, vivacious, and confident woman.  But that is not who I knew.  I stopped going through your worldly possessions the day I found your perfume.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Good Daughter...


...Makes Shabbos For Her Mama

But, there was no daughter, there were no children, and so Yosef lit the candles for his beloved Lina, he said the Kiddush, and he held the two loaves of challah close while he said the Motzi.  Lina always could speak to him on Friday night, ... to tell him good Shabbos... and she could always smile back at him when he kissed her a good Shabbos.  It was just the two of them.  And some rabbis tried to take even that away from them.  What had the world come to be?