Category Archives: family

On the occasion of my sister’s birthday

girls a


Yes, our mother made us both wear the hamantaschen costumes

It’s April 9th, my sister’s birthday. Four years ago, in 2014, I was out of town at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop and missed celebrating with her. So I put together something special to make up for being away. Today I will spend the day with some of her good friends, sharing stories and memories. (I posted this in previous years also.) In case you missed it, here it is again: a recycled virtual birthday card:

When Susie turned 50, I did a retrospective of her many bad hairstyles over the years. She loved it! Obviously, I can’t do that again. Instead, I’m sharing some of our  history in photographs.

I went through my many piles of pictures and albums and tried to select some classics from over the years.

Many of the pictures from the early days are of the two of us, usually posed on the front lawn of the house in Richmond where we grew up. The hedges always look like they need pruning.

off the boat


Two babushkas right off the boat–with a jump rope, just in case.

girls 1


In our sundresses

girls b


Not dressed for the same party. Wish I still had that pompom skirt.

We’re two and a half years apart, so we played together pretty well most of the time.I have a few scars, however. . .

We lived in New York City for a year in the 1950s. She was in third grade and I was in first. We struggled with our new snow clothes, rode the subway, and tried many new kinds of food. I got the mumps first, and gave them to her. The measles too. It was a big year for childhood diseases.

snowbunnies


On the sidewalks of New York

Back in California, where the hedges still needed pruning, we took tap and ballet lessons. She went further in ballet, and took up tap again several years ago. (2018 update: I am now also taking tap lessons with her teacher and the wonderful “girls” in the class.)

ballerinas


Two in tutus

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The World Works in Mysterious Ways: Birthday Edition

Today, November 14th, is my birthday. I’m moved, overwhelmed, and touched by all the birthday love I’ve received from friends and family. And here are two things that happened to mark this day in 2017: The dream I had night before last, where my sister appeared as a surprise visitor–here to spend my birthday withContinue Reading

Card-Carrying Grandmother

First, a little background. My Grandma Eve was my Grampa Mike’s second wife. His first wife, my dad’s beloved mother, passed away before any of us grandchildren got to meet her. So Grandma Eve was the grandmother we knew growing up. If I have the story straight, my grandfather engaged the services of a matchmaker,Continue Reading

From Manager to #1 Fan

  Here’s something you probably never imagined when your kids were little: There will come a time when you, the parent, are no longer the most important person in your child’s life. Over the years, so slowly you may not even notice, you will transition to a position of diminishing influence, and will lose theContinue Reading

Button, button . . .

My aunt had the buttons! I’ve written about my Aunt Ruth and her buttons here and in my book. She inspired me to start my own collection when I was a teenager. I kept them in a small box inside my grandparents’ secretary desk. I visited my cousin recently and we talked about his mother’sContinue Reading

Aunt Augusta’s Chair

 An excerpt from my book, in which a special chair follows our family through many transitions. This is from one of the “artifact” chapters that are woven into the story of the fire’s aftermath. There is only one black and white photo in the book, but there are so many more… I first saw thisContinue Reading

My Aunt Rocks!

Her name is Rockie, but don’t take her for granite. One of her jokes. Her given name is Rokama. According to several sources I consulted, in Hebrew the name means “comforted.” Or beloved. Or one who has received mercy. Or possibly: compassion. They all fit. If I had to name some of the influential womenContinue Reading

First Birthday

  My sister’s birthday is coming up in April. This will be the first time in over sixty years that I will not buy a card, select a gift, or have dinner with her. No candles, no cake, no celebration. The following month, in May, I will observe the first anniversary of her death—and thenContinue Reading

About my Aunt Ruth, just because

 Aunt Ruth used to chide me when I complained about being exhausted after chasing my young children around. “In my day,” she said, “we’d put the kids to bed—and then figure out how to save the world!” Saving the World Saving the world meant throwing herself into the fray: she’d hoist a sign, march andContinue Reading

My Passover Seder Memories: Not the long version

The Passover Seder is a highly ritualized family event, during which children must wait patiently to eat dinner until the last plague is listed, the last bite of horseradish is choked down, the last prayer is read, and the last song is sung. Depending on how hard core the leader of the Seder service mightContinue Reading