I had a giant post with the background story on these shoes. It was a great story, but somehow it got lost between composing and publishing. That makes me mad. So I am going to bed and perhaps I will re-write it tomorrow.
My article on the Yiddish club appears in today's issue of the West End Word. I wrote in an earlier post about my time with the Yiddish speakers. Now you can enjoy the finished product by clicking here.
If you live in St. Louis, you can pick up copies of the newspaper at news stands in University City and the Central West End. It's free. I get mine from the Metro station in the Loop. If you know of other places to pick up copies, please feel free to let me know!
Last night Lindon and I attended the graduate voice recital of our friend Courtney Dey. Courtney's husband, Charlie, is one of Lindon's classmates and a good friend.
Courtney's voice is amazing, and it was wonderful to listen to her sing for an hour (though how she could do so with such technical precision was beyond me - that's some endurance).
The recital was the culmination of years of work on her part. Watching her perform made me feel proud of her. And at the post-recital reception her older sister told me, "We are all so proud of her, there just aren't words to express it."
So congratulations, Courtney, on a wonderful recital and being so close to finishing grad school! You did a wonderful job, and you should be proud of yourself. We are.
Since I grew up in Florida, taking school trips to Orlando theme parks was a regular part of my childhood. One of my favorite rides at Universal Studios was "Earthquake." Based on that ride (which is neither realistic nor scary) I was pretty sure than an earthquake meant certain disaster. I was thankful that I only had to worry about hurricanes.
Well, today I actually felt a real, live aftershock from a real, live earthquake! The quake happened around 5:15 this morning, and I slept right through it. However, I felt an aftershock at work around 10:15. It wasn't very strong. But it's neat to say I have felt an earthquake.
So I said I would add photos of our garden, and here they are! I included some before and after shots so you have a taste of how bad it was. We know the flower boxes still look pretty bare, but we hope to add some more plants as the season progresses. I took these photos Sunday, and already the red azaleas are bursting with vibrant blossoms. It's quite exciting. I just hope all this rain doesn't drown them!
Here is another tip for courteous phone usage: Don't talk on your cell phone in a public restroom.
The reasons why this is inappropriate seem so obvious that I don't feel the need to explain.
If anyone wants to offer a compelling reason why one might need to use the phone in such a blatantly awkward spot, I am all ears. But if you call me from a public restroom to tell me your reason, I'll hang up on you.
This weekend I embarked on a new house project - I planted stuff. Since Sunday was such a beautiful day, Lindon and I hit the Home Depot and came away with a few adornments for our all-too-bare flower beds that have been desolate for the past 18 months.
Gardening is something new for me, and I am a bit nervous. My lack of experience makes me afraid that I will destroy anything I touch, that I am the un-Midas. So far that has not been the case, but who knows? I hope that the blossoming plants will give me confidence to try other things that had previously not been part of my experience.
Oh, and did I mention I made scones for the first time last weekend, too? It was a weekend of trying new things! Check back later for flower photos!
I had an interesting evening last night. I am working on a story for a local newspaper about groups that meet to speak Yiddish, and last night was my chance to actually attend a group meeting. What I found there blew me away.
About 50 people attended the meeting, far more than I would have expected, and the people I met overwhelmed me with their generosity and enthusiasm. Most of the attendees were long past 50 years, but their spirit and love for the Yiddish language kept them young. This evening differed from the typical format of these monthly meetings because the group was honoring a recently-deceased member.
This member was so dearly loved that the group re-named itself in his honor. To commemorate the occasion, the group moderator gave the widow and her family a large photograph of him rolling out matzo dough for passover. There is love and tenderness in his face as he works...and a tatoo on his arm from his days in a Auschwitz.
Many of these Yiddish speakers were first generation immigrants who came to American from Europe after "The War" - their way of referring to World War II. They might not have died in Europe, but they gave up their careers, homes, identities, and almost certainly lost family members to flee some of the most horrific regimes in the history of mankind. And last night they gathered to remember home, the lands from which they come and to which they will never return.
As a member of white, middle-class America who has never known real hardship I was humbled by these people. Here before me was living history, and the fact that they were remembering one who had died reminded me that they are not long with us. As I was visiting with a woman last night, she thanked me for taking an interest in their group. "The young people these days," she said, "they don't want to be around us." "I know, " I told her, "and it's our loss. We're only hurting ourselves."
Perhaps these people resonated with me because of my Eastern European heritage. Perhaps I am drawn to the fact that their stories make great stories. But I think it's more than that. I want to celebrate these people while they are still around. They deserve it. And then I can commend their works to the next generation, too.