Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Just A Life

We’re moving. We don’t know where, so maybe I should say, we’re packing. And as I go room to room and look at all the stuff we’ve collected over the years, I think – Geez, what a lot of crap. But along with that I think, there are so many memories. How do you throw away those items which brought you so much happiness and at times, so much pain. Then I think, but they are my memories. Jordan and Seth will have no idea what they should do with anything – except the pictures, and maybe the recipes. Matty Selman, the wonderfully talented, dare I say, genius, who is writing the music, lyrics and collaborating on the book, for “Gefilte Fish Chronicles: The Musical,” has written a song called “Just a Life”. A child, whose mother has died, is going through all her mother’s things. It is a daunting task. To her surprise, her mother appears and tells her that none of her possessions means anything –it was only a life, and the only thing the daughter should save are the treasured pictures and recipes and things that will keep the memory of all who have passed on, alive in their hearts.

Which made me think about the next generation of family. Who will remember and who will treasure (good or bad), the memory of previous generations? And I felt pretty good about it. Jonathan used to come and make matzoh brie with the great aunts on the morning after the Seder. He can take that with him and teach his children. Madison made the horse radish, and even if she doesn’t remember how, she will remember that she was covered with beet juice. Stephanie and her daughter Sydney have always been a part of the preparation for every family occasion – they know how to do it. My children and all the second, third, and fourth cousins know how valuable it is to treasure and pass on the photos and stories of their parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

We have quite an array of talented kids. We have Doctors, (eye and body) and, especially important, one is a psychiatrist. We have business owners and business experts, who make a real difference giving guidance to people who don’t have their expertise. We have actors, artists, chefs, real estate mavens, nurses, builders, writers, musicians , activists, and home makers, We have any number of lawyers, and Louis (named for his great grandfather) just passed the Bar. Mazel Tov! And God knows, we have an adequate supply of Indian Chiefs—that’s genetic. They are, for the most part, self starting, determined, adults, who are taking great care to make sure they pass on the important stuff to their kids. They are sensitive, feeling, adults who have always responded to whatever the previous generation asks of them. Whether it be “come to dinner” or “come and help.” One of the most touching examples of this is the support the younger (younger than me), cousins have been in the development of Gefilte Fish Chronicles: The Musical. Among some of the sweetest responses, one apologized for not being able to give enough, and one asked if they could help finance the production on a monthly basis. They understand how important it is to have a family legacy and they want, very much, to be a part of it.

When we were children my grandparents taught us the importance of being charitable. Not only with strangers and not only with money, but with time and with family, with pictures and no shortage of stories. The Dubroff clan (Minnie, Abe and all their children) have done a wonderful job in making clear that everyone has “ just a life”, and what’s important is to treasure each moment we live and each moment that has passed. We’re just sayin’.... Iris

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