My son, Jason,called the other day and jokingly said that I didn't keep myword.
Many of us who said, "Till death do us part,"never went the distance. Gary and Barbara did. They were a great lovestory. The fact that her parents didn't approve of their marriage,because he was a saxophone player, made it all the morepowerful.
Playing by the Rules.
Honoring Thy Mother.
My brother called the other day and asked whetherI had noticed how many people are putting things behind them andmoving on.
"Does that mean they have no baggage?" Iasked.
"Well," he said, "either people have no baggage oran invisible semitrailer is following them around."
When I was warned by Israeli friends that the El Al experience would be unique, they never told me about being crushed between two Ivy League men on a midnight flight to Tel Aviv.
I keep a folder of newspaper items that fall intotwo categories -- the informative and the outrageous.
My years inSanta Cruz are measured by the Jewish calendar. Through a coincidenceof dates, I arrived in 1995 the night before erev Rosh Hashanah.
When I first saw Martha on television, she usedexactly three sheets of The New York Times Business section to make aroaring fire. I considered myself an expert fire maker, but I neededthe entire Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times. I watchedMartha and took notes.
Nothing was reserved for the sacred in my family.And everything was subjected to trial by humor. My grandmotherSarah's seven children formed a family-circle club and named it theGarnet Group -- after the gemstone associated with January, the monththey decided to hold the first meeting more than four decades ago.
When my kids were still preschoolers,young enough to be influenced by my every word, I used to have this spiel about marrying out of Judaism. It went something like this:"It's an insult to the 6 million who died only because they were Jewish." I figured that you can't start early enough on the road to the chuppah. Now, both of my children are chuppah material. And I am spiel-less.
My mother called to give me an update on my aunt Ruthie's condition. She had a cancer-spotted kidney removed a few days ago,and the family Jew-Ex was hot with medical reports. My mother, whose curse it was to be the firstborn, was cursed a second time by havinga daughter who she used to liken to her sister Ruth whenever I stepped out of line -- which was often, according to my mother.Ruthie's curse was to be born two years after my mother and to neverhave had a daughter.
My birthday used to be celebrated as if it were a national holiday. From the backyard pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey days to the touch football games on the beach at Easthampton, July 16 was a date inscribed in infamy.
There we were, my family, 11 anarchists cruising down to Ensenada for four days on the Viking Serenade, celebrating my mother's 85th birthday. I roomed with the birthday girl in one of those cabins where you have to yell, "Watch out!" when you exit the lavatory.
When I was 16, I used to cut school, take the E-train to Union Square and stand around listening to the Communist speakers rant about injustice.
Recently, I watched a documentary about Adolf Eichmann, whose trial I had originally watched on television years ago.
I was thinking about my friend Lillian Ross last week as I was driving over the Golden Gate Bridge on my way north to an enzyme bath and massage in an outdoor Japanese tea house in Occidental. (I was celebrating freedom after submitting my manuscript for a book on families and family life.) Lillian's the one who, when asked by her children what she wanted on her 70th birthday, told them that she always had this desire to walk across the bridge with them.