Hoboken New Jersey has become quite a lovely little town. It has gone through a revitalization. So many places have, but this one worked. Other than the fact that every third store is a real estate agency, there are lots of cute little shops and places to eat.
Last Wednesday was the fourth day of the Hoboken film festival. We entered “The Gefilte Fish Chronicles” but didn’t get accepted. That was the bad news, but the good news was that my brother Jeff’s movie about six-day bicycle racing did. So we went thinking we would introduce the film and following up with pitching the DVD and the book. The book has won a number of awards and the sport, although no longer something that is done, is very both historic and interesting – other grueling bike races have since replaced the indoor circular race. But the sport was a total reflection of the times and generated enormous enthusiasm and support from the public and many notables. Unfortunately, the only people in attendance at our film were the producers of the two short films and us. It was not a surprise since it was shown at noon, in the middle of the week and the weather was so wonderful that if you had a choice between sitting outside with a picnic lunch and sitting inside with a six-day bicycle racing movie, chances are you would opt for the picnic. It didn’t matter. We had fun going on the PATH train and returning on the ferry.
Thing is, we’ve learned a great deal about film festivals. First thing is, we probably don’t belong in one. We have seen the stuff that the judges select and there are few that are as good as the “Chronicles”, yet even the Jewish film festivals (except for Denver where we won most popular audience selection) have turned us down. I think they’re not even reviewing it. Maybe it’s the packaging—which, like the film, has only simple beauty. There are no bells and whistles. We didn’t create a hard copy cover—it’s just the family picture, which we have used consistently throughout. Or maybe they have watched it and, instead of the thanks going to matzah and memorial candles, they have gone to family members – the entire family. Which is one of the things that make the “Chronicles” so interesting – our family is not just Goldberg/s and Schwartz’s – in fact there are no Goldberg’s or Schwartz’s. It is Amontea’s, and Sergie’s a and Davis’ and Leach. Yes, we have intermarried. And I think, it has brought strength to the clan. I only think this. I am not sure what goes on in everyone’s house.
I think one of the reasons it is difficult to remain connected it that we have just grown too big to keep in touch with everyone one a regular basis. But those of us who wish to remain a part of the whole, have done a pretty good job. I guess that will change when, in 120 years—that’s what you are supposed to say in order not to cause the evil spirits to take notice) my mother and aunt are gone—even that will change. And speaking of mothers. Mine has had a number of falls in the past few weeks. Once was getting on the little bus that takes the Mews residents to the Wal-Mart, and twice in the middle of the night when she was on her way to or from the bathroom. This could be a “Chronicle”. Rose living in her house, falling, having 5 or 6 helpers (if you count the one that came and went twice), falling, moving to rehab and falling because the closet door on her room wasn’t secured, moving to Victoria Mews and falling because she wanted to remain independent so she refuses to ask for the help she obviously needs. Maybe this isn’t a chronicle it’s just what so many of us are going through today – both parents and children.
It is at this time (the times that try our souls) that we look for a support system. Our mothers had it with their sisters. They didn’t depend on extended family. They had one another. There was never a question about who would be there when there was an emergency. Their sister, unless deceased would be anywhere they were needed in a matter of a few hours. It was an expectation never unfulfilled. Some of us find it in our children—but I don’t want my children to have to get any calls in the middle of the night telling them that I have been sent to the emergency room and they should standby. Some of us are lucky enough to have cousins who care. Cousins who have become like sisters. But they have their own lives. My mother and her sisters had each other’s lives. They were not only sisters, they were friends who spent most of everyday together. A few of us have built a support system from friends, but like our mothers we don’t want to bother anyone who might not be blood related. We never think it’s a bother to bother blood—even when it is.
Speaking of TV series—OK we weren’t but I didn’t know how to make the transition. We had an interesting meeting with a producer who loves the “Chronicles” and thinks it could be a series—not with our family but with other families who also gather for celebration. She even thinks Jordan could host because, she’s an actress, she loves food, and she’s the right age to draw young people. We’ll see what happens but maybe Jordan’s rise as a food expert should be a “Chronicle.” Never a lack of chronicles in our family. We’re just sayin...Iris