Happy. Healthy.


As I set the table today for tonight’s Rosh Hashanah dinner, I had a flashback.

Walking into my grandparents’ house on Arrowhead Court. We always used the side door and not the front door. Why was that? The front door was a stately looking double door that led directly into the living room. The piano was right there by the door.

My grandmother played the piano beautifully. I was just Facebooking with a cousin, Eric, about that. He has video of her playing in the assisted living home she lived in for a while. But the piano. I loved the piano. There were wonderful music books inside the bench and I loved to look through them. Most of them had handwriting on them. My grandmother’s? Great-grandmother’s? I don’t know. And that piano bench is where my grandfather hid the afikomen every Passover after my Great-grandfather died. My Great-grandfather had been partial to hiding it under on the table, under the cloth in front of his as he sat at the table watching all the little children look for it. You’d have thought we’d catch on. And maybe we did and just didn’t want to take his joy away.

So just past the tiny foyer with the piano, was the living room. The sofa was stiff and uncomfortable, as I remember. And the plastic covering just intensified that discomfort by making your legs stick if you wore a skirt. Which we always did.

After all, it was the holidays.

My Great-grandparents had strong accents. They were from Russia and spoke Yiddish. There is no accent in the world that sounds more loving and sweet to me than that. I remember the look in my Great-grandmother’s eyes when she looked at me. She really loved me. I could see it and feel it. It’s not that my grandmother didn’t. I know she did. But the intensity was different.

Aside from the look in my great-grandmother’s eyes, I remember her shoes.

Those were some fugly shoes. Black and lace up the back. I don’t know if they were orthopedic or not, but oh my, they looked it.

But I digress.

The living room and dining room were one. The table started by the breakfront at one end of the room and, piece by piece, table by table, it reached to the sofa. Some of the tablecloths were lacy. Some not. All of them looked elegant to me. The last table was covered with plastic over the cloth for the children. That’s where we sat.

The chairs were so close together that several people had to get up so another person could get in. It was squishy. And hot. And the food always seemed to get to the kids last.

And I loved it.

I loved being with my parents and brother and sister. And my first cousins. My aunts and uncles. My grandparents. Bubby and Zayde.

We’d play hide and seek until dinner. The basement was the best! Aunt Phyl’s closet was a perfect spot (sorry, Aunt Phyl!) and there were some amazing spots in the laundry room. I’ll never forget the time I hid in the shower and David turned the water on. Yikes!

I could go on and on. But really, I just wanted to say that when I looked at my long half-set table with 3 fresh challahs, I remembered where I came from.

And I cried.

{Just a little. It’s not sad, it’s sweet. And I’m a little sick too, so that’s probably it. But still. I just thought I’d share. }


7 thoughts on “Happy. Healthy.

  1. I remember running around with my cousins and eating lots of honey cake. Now our kids run around our homes and eat lots of honey cake! I hope your kids and ours have those memories they take with them.

You know I love comments! Comment here. (Does that sound needy?)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s